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Research Series Issue 31 - Impact of modern irrigation on household production and welfare outcomes
October 2018

Evidence from the Participatory Small-Scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP) project in Ethiopia

Investments in irrigation systems have been shown to substantially improve farmers’ productivity, and thus alleviate poverty. This study provides an example of such an investment: the Participatory Small-Scale Irrigation Development Programme.

The project institutionalized water user associations, developed small-scale irrigation schemes, and provided agricultural training activities to smallholder farmers in drought-prone and food-deficit areas in four regions of Ethiopia.

Combining a primary household survey with geographical data, this work estimates the project impact on agricultural production and household expenditure using a novel identification strategy.

Beneficiaries' gains include improved crop yields and greater diversity of crops cultivated. These gains have the potential to raise revenues and enable a switch from subsistence to purchasing more food from the market.

The lessons learned from this study, by highlighting the need to focus on strengthening access to market, in conjunction with the irrigation infrastructural support, have the potential to improve the design and implementation of future small-scale irrigation projects.

The added focus on access to markets would provide greater opportunities to projects beneficiaries by maximising farmers' improved productive capacity.


Alessandra Garbero (IFAD) and Tisorn Songsermsawas (IFAD)