- Ten of the 29 African Development Bank (ADB) sponsored irrigation projects costing US $70 million have been initiated in Ethiopia. The funding will no doubt boost Ethiopian government‘s untiring efforts to empower millions of farmer and eventually cut down the high poverty rate.
The funding was a direct result of an agreement the Ethiopian government had signed with the bank last year.
“The projects are being carried out based on the agreement reached between the Ethiopian government and ADB with a view to ensuring the food security of pastoralists and farmers,” the Ethiopian Ministry for Agriculture confirmed, adding that the projects could result to the development of more than 2,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia.
The construction of the remaining irrigation projects is also said to be underway.
Dams supporting irrigation projects have been constructed in some Ethiopian states of Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and South Ethiopia Peoples State.
It is reported that development of medium irrigation projects, water harvesting, crop marketing and integrated environmental conservation and capacity building works have been carried going on in the country since 2006.
In June this year, the World Bank approved a loan of US $100 million to help the country to increase agricultural productivity, accelerate growth and reduce rural poverty.
The Ethiopia Irrigation and Drainage project - costing more than US $700 million - is the first in a series of Nile investments under preparation. The project represented the World Bank’s first re-engagement in new irrigation development in the Nile Basin for about three decades.
This project aims to increase irrigated agricultural output in the Megech and Ribb schemes located in the Lake Tana sub-basin of the Blue Nile basin. The proposed program shares the same objectives with that of the ADB, although the World Bank sponsored project targets an accumulated 20,000 hectares.
“The Irrigation and Drainage project will introduce irrigation in areas that are mostly cultivated by subsistence smallholder farmers that currently depend on unreliable rainfall. The introduction of irrigation will not only reduce risks associated with climate variability, but will also help farmers transform their production systems and capture benefits from linkages with markets,” the World Bank project leader, IJsbrand de Jong, said.
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