Ethiopia working to harness 5.3 mln hectares irrigation potential

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Addis Ababa, January 17 (WIC) – The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy said it is striving to harness its massive 5.3 million hectares of irrigation potential.

The Ministry’s public relations and communication director, Bizuneh Tolcha told WIC that the government has given due attention to its irrigation potential which lacked policy and strategic direction two decades before.

Before 1992, not more than 61 thousand hectares of land were developed through irrigation schemes. A change in government and policy direction meant the sector witnessed a huge transformation. In just two decades, the country managed to develop over 298 thousand hectares of land through irrigation schemes.

By the end of the growth and transformation plan (GTP) in 2015, the country expects to harness 14.5 percent of its irrigation potential, a big leap compared to the 2009/10 budget year where the country managed to harness just 2.4 percent of its irrigation potential.

Bizuneh said the ministry is currently undertaking 15 irrigation development studies, design preparations and construction projects, out of which the ministry expects to finalize nine during the current budget year and four within the GTP period. The remaining two are expected to be finalized within two years after the end of the GTP.