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Spate irrigation and poverty in Ethiopia


  • Hagos, Fitsum
  • Erkossa, Teklu
  • Lefore, Nicole
  • Langan, Simon


The study examined whether the use of spate irrigation in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia reduced poverty. Each of about 25 users of indigenous and modern spate irrigation schemes and an equal number of corresponding nonusers from the same peasant associations in Oromia and Tigray regional states were interviewed. The survey found that the poverty level of the spate irrigation users was significantly lower than that of the nonusers in terms incidence, depth and severity. Access to improved spate irrigation has led to reduced poverty, measured by all poverty indices, compared to traditional spate. Finally, the dominance test showed that the poverty comparison between users and nonusers was robust. From the study, it can be concluded that the use of spate irrigation in areas where access to other alternative water sources is limited, either by physical availability or by economic constraints, can significantly contribute to poverty reduction, and that modernizing the spate system strengthens the impact.

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  • Hagos, Fitsum & Erkossa, Teklu & Lefore, Nicole & Langan, Simon, 2014. "Spate irrigation and poverty in Ethiopia," Conference Papers h046926, International Water Management Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:iwt:conppr:h046926

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in water and other priorities," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(7), pages 1062-1070, July.
    2. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    3. Stefan Dercon & Krishnan Pramila, 1998. "Changes in Poverty in Rural Ethiopia 1989-1995: Measurement, Robustness Tests and Decomposition," Working Papers of Department of Economics, Leuven 501299, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Economics, Leuven.
    4. Erkossa, Teklu & Langan, Simon J. & Hagos, Fitsum, 2014. "Constraints to the development, operation and maintenance of spate irrigation schemes in Ethiopia," Conference Papers h046925, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Abdelkrim Araar & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2006. "DAD: a Software for Poverty and Distributive Analysis," Working Papers PMMA 2006-10, PEP-PMMA.
    6. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Statistical Inference in the Measurement of Poverty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(4), pages 632-639, November.
    7. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
    8. Frank Steenbergen & Abraham Haile & Taye Alemehayu & Tena Alamirew & Yohannes Geleta, 2011. "Status and Potential of Spate Irrigation in Ethiopia," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 25(7), pages 1899-1913, May.
    9. Fitsum Hagos & Gayathri Jayasinghe & Seleshi Bekele Awulachew & Mekonnen Loulseged & Aster Denekew Yilma, 2012. "Agricultural water management and poverty in Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43, pages 99-111, November.
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    1. Castelli, Giulio & Bresci, Elena & Castelli, Fabio & Hagos, Eyasu Yazew & Mehari, Abraham, 2018. "A participatory design approach for modernization of spate irrigation systems," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 210(C), pages 286-295.

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