The federal government initiated medium and large-scale irrigation projects to boost farmers’ productivity. In 2021, under public-private partnership agreements, it indicated its aim to launch a dozen large-scale irrigation projects. A 2.5 billion ETB irrigation project anticipated to benefit 65,000 farmers in the Wolayita Zone of the Southern Regional State was recently launched. This is part of five similar projects initiated in the area.
The groundwater irrigation project started with 170 small-scale farmers across four regional states and has since expanded to 1000 farmers. Farmers were provided with an alternative solution instead of being solely dependent on seasonal rainfall. The project offers solar-powered water pumps to farmers that can only cultivate during the rainfall season.
Together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and others, the Ministry of Agriculture has provided 300 solar-powered pumps to these farmers. It is estimated that the groundwater reserves can cultivate 2.2 million hectares of land to benefit 1.5 million small-scale farmers.
One of the factors that reduce agricultural productivity is the high dependency. By using these pumps, farmers can cultivate three times a year and triple their productivity & income. The project aims to enable several annual harvests & diversify high-value crops. All of these projects are promising investments that will provide greater financial returns.