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Poverty reduction with irrigation investment: An empirical case study from Tigray, Ethiopia


  • Gebregziabher, Gebrehaweria
  • Namara, Regassa E.
  • Holden, Stein


The regional government of Tigray has invested millions of dollars to develop irrigation schemes as a strategy of poverty reduction. However, there has been limited attempt to analyze whether these investments have attained their stated objectives of poverty reduction and overall socio-economic enhancement. Therefore, we endeavor to: (1) evaluate the impacts of access to small-scale irrigation on farm household's income and poverty status, (2) contribute to the scant literature on irrigation and poverty reduction in Ethiopia, and (3) provide information for policy makers. We examine a representative sample of 613 farm households (331 irrigators and 282 non-irrigators) drawn using three-stage stratified sampling with Probability Proportional to Size. We find that the average income of non-irrigating households is less than that of the irrigating households by about 50%. The overall average income gain due to access to irrigation ranges from 4000 Birr to 4500 Birr per household per annum. We find also that farming income is more important to irrigating households than to non-irrigating households, and off-farm income is negatively related with access to irrigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebregziabher, Gebrehaweria & Namara, Regassa E. & Holden, Stein, 2009. "Poverty reduction with irrigation investment: An empirical case study from Tigray, Ethiopia," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(12), pages 1837-1843, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:96:y:2009:i:12:p:1837-1843

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diao, Xinshen & Hazell, Peter & Resnick, Danielle & Thurlow, James, 2006. "The role of agriculture in development: implications for Sub-Saharan Africa," DSGD discussion papers 29, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Christiaensen, Luc & Scott, Christopher & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Poverty Measurement and Analysis," MPRA Paper 45362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Huang, Qiuqiong & Rozelle, Scott & Lohmar, Bryan & Huang, Jikun & Wang, Jinxia, 2006. "Irrigation, agricultural performance and poverty reduction in China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 30-52, February.
    4. Shah, Tushaar & Burke, J. & Villholth, K. & Angelica, M. & Custodio, E. & Daibes, F. & Hoogesteger, J. & Giordano, Mark & Girman, J. & van der Gun, J. & Kendy, E. & Kijne, J. & Llamas, R. & Masiyandim, 2007. "Groundwater: a global assessment of scale and significance," IWMI Books, Reports H040203, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Christiaensen, Luc & Demery, Lionel & Kuhl, Jesper, 2006. "The role of agriculture in poverty reduction an empirical perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4013, The World Bank.
    6. Ravallion, Martin, 2008. "Evaluating Anti-Poverty Programs," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Songqing Jin & Jikun Huang & Ruifa Hu & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "The Creation and Spread of Technology and Total Factor Productivity in China's Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(4), pages 916-930.
    8. Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2000. "Growth and poverty in rural China: the role of public investments," EPTD discussion papers 66, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Adela, F.A. & Aurbacher, J., 2018. "Access to irrigation water-poverty nexus: Application of an Endogenous Switching Regression in Ethiopia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277521, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Mateos, Luciano & Lozano, David & Baghil, Ahmed Baba Ould & Diallo, Oumar Abdoul & Gómez-Macpherson, Helena & Comas, Jordi & Connor, David, 2010. "Irrigation performance before and after rehabilitation of a representative, small irrigation scheme besides the Senegal River, Mauritania," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(6), pages 901-909, June.
    3. Mapedza, Everisto & Wichelns, Dennis, 2010. "Evaluating baseline indicators pertaining to Oxfam America's Water Program in Ethiopia: a revised report prepared for Oxfam America," IWMI Research Reports H043433, International Water Management Institute.
    4. repec:eee:agiwat:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:207-217 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Namara, Regassa E. & Hope, Lesley & Sarpong, Eric Owusu & De Fraiture, Charlotte & Owusu, Diana, 2014. "Adoption patterns and constraints pertaining to small-scale water lifting technologies in Ghana," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 194-203.


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