Country Overview Country Update Documents

Ethiopia has 32 agroecological zones. Rainfed subsistence agriculture dominates, although rainfall distribution and intensity vary, generally decreasing from southwest to northeast. Droughts occur every four or five years. The midlands and highlands primarily support integrated crop and livestock production, while pastoral systems dominate in the lowlands. Women and men have clearly defined roles within agriculture, but women often have less say in decision-making.

Of the estimated 3.7 to 4.3 million hectares of potentially irrigable land, only 7–10% has been exploited. Just over half of this area is irrigated by traditional practises. A further 20% is irrigated by modern small-scale schemes and the rest by medium-to-large-scale commercial irrigated farms, both private and state-owned. Some of the small-scale irrigation projects are not functioning as effectively as they could be.

The AgWater Solutions Project has been working in Ethiopia for two years. Project staff initially reviewed existing agricultural water management (AWM) practises and their geographical contexts using field observations, secondary data sources, household interviews and discussions with key organisations. The project’s research has revealed that there are numerous AWM technologies and methods in use in Ethiopia. These include:

river and stream diversions;
  micro-dams or reservoirs;
  groundwater and hand-dug wells;
  lake and river pumping;
  rainwater harvesting and ponds;
  spate irrigation;
  soil and water conservation;
  water-lifting devices – motorized pumps, treadle pumps, rope-and-washer and wind mills;
  sprinkler systems;  and
  drip irrigation.
  More information about these AWM solutions and the background situation in the country can be found in the Situation Analysis Briefing Notes.  

Based on the initial review and advice from a range of stakeholders in Ethiopia, the project team subsequently carried out more in-depth research on a selection of these solutions. These detailed case studies are still on-going but information about their status and other project activities in Ethiopia, including research, workshops and mapping, can be found on the Country Update Page.

  Project Country Contacts  
   Title    Name
   Country Coordinator and project contact point    Dr. Gerbrehaweria Sebregziabher,
   International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
   Project Ambassadors for Eastern Africa    Prof. Nuhu Hatibu,
   The Kilimo Trust, Uganda and

   Dr. Bancy Mati,
   Independent Consultant, Kenya
If you are working on similar issues and would like to discuss them with the project team please contact the project secretariat at: