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Rural poverty and inequality in Ethiopia: does access to small-scale irrigation make a difference?

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  • Namara, Regassa
  • Makombe, Godswill
  • Hagos, Fitsum
  • Awulachew, Seleshi Bekele

Abstract

Ethiopia is an agrarian society in a land of drought and floods. Agricultural production, which is the source of livelihood for eight out of ten Ethiopians, is extremely vulnerable to climatic conditions. The causes of rural poverty are many including wide fluctuations in agricultural production as a result of drought, ineffective and inefficient agricultural marketing system, under developed transport and communication networks, underdeveloped production technologies, limited access of rural households to support services, environmental degradation and lack of participation by rural poor people in decisions that affect their livelihoods. However, the persistent fluctuation in the amount and distribution of rainfall is considered as a major factor in rural poverty. Cognizant of this reality the successive Ethiopian governments and farmers have made investments in small scale irrigation schemes. This paper aims to assess the efficacy of these investments in reducing poverty based on data obtained from a survey of 1024 farmers drawn from four major regional states of Ethiopia. The Foster, Greer and Thorbecke poverty measures were used to compare the incidence, depth and severity of poverty among groups of farmers defined by relevant policy variables including access to irrigation. In order to explore the correlates of rural poverty and their quantitative significance, logistic regression model was estimated. The main conclusion of the study is that the incidence, depth and severity of poverty is affected more by the intensity of irrigation use (as measured by the size of irrigated area) than mere access to irrigation. Alternatively, there seems to be an economy of scale in the poverty irrigation relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Namara, Regassa & Makombe, Godswill & Hagos, Fitsum & Awulachew, Seleshi Bekele, 2008. "Rural poverty and inequality in Ethiopia: does access to small-scale irrigation make a difference?," IWMI Conference Proceedings 245355, International Water Management Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iwmicp:245355
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.245355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christiaensen, Luc & Scott, Christopher & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Poverty Measurement and Analysis," MPRA Paper 45362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Gang, Ira N. & Sen, Kunal & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2002. "Caste, Ethnicity and Poverty in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 629, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. World Bank, 2006. "Ethiopia : Managing Water Resources to Maximize Sustainable Growth," World Bank Publications - Reports 8170, The World Bank Group.
    4. Jean-Yves Duclos & Abdelkrim Araar, 2006. "Poverty and Equity," Economic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion, and Well-Being, Springer, number 978-0-387-33318-2, December.
    5. Abdelkrim Araar & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2006. "DAD: a Software for Poverty and Distributive Analysis," Working Papers PMMA 2006-10, PEP-PMMA.
    6. John Anyanwu, 2005. "Rural Poverty in Nigeria: Profile, Determinants and Exit Paths," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 17(3), pages 435-460.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Martorano, Bruno, 2017. "Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, determinants and consequences: Inequality and Growth in an Agricultural-led Development Model: The case of Ethiopia over 1995-2011," UNDP Africa Reports 267649, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    2. repec:rac:ecchap:2017-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hagos, Fitsum & Jayasinghe, Gayathri & Awulachew, Seleshi Bekele & Loulseged, Makonnen & Denekew, Aster, 2008. "Poverty impacts of agricultural water management technologies in Ethiopia," IWMI Conference Proceedings 233265, International Water Management Institute.
    4. Hagos, Fitsum & Jayasinghe, Gayathri & Awulachew, Seleshi Bekele & Loulseged, Makonnen & Denekew, Aster, 2008. "Poverty impacts of agricultural water management technologies in Ethiopia," Conference Papers h041695, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Wubamlak Ayichew Workneh & Jun Takada & Shusuke Matsushita, 2020. "The Impact of Using Small-Scale Irrigation Motor Pumps on Farmers’ Household Incomes in Ethiopia: A Quasi-Experimental Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(19), pages 1-12, October.

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