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Agricultural development and water use in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia: a rapid appraisal

Scholten, W. (2007) Agricultural development and water use in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia: a rapid appraisal.

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Abstract:This report describes the results of an internship in the Central Rift Valley. The internship is part of the project ‘Ecosystems for water, food and economic development in the Ethiopian central rift valley’, executed by the Wageningen University and Research centre, sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The project aims at strengthening local authorities in the field of environmental planning. The aim of this research was to collect general data, for example, on demography and agricultural activities and the analysis of data and various agricultural production systems. Special attention was on water use of these systems and other activities in the CRV that consume large amounts of water. The Ethiopian Central Rift Valley (CRV) is part of the Great African Rift, and encompasses four major lakes on the rift floor and is surrounded by escarpments on the east and west side. It has a semi arid to sub humid climate and is known for its unique ecology, especially birdlife. The natural resources of the area are under enormous pressure due to human influences. During the last decades natural population growth and migration have led to large scale deforestation, increased agricultural activities and an increased cattle population. One of the developments in the past decades is the introduction and rapid expansion of irrigated agriculture. Smallholder farmer irrigation schemes as well as large scale private and state farms have been established during the last decades. A recent development is the introduction of foreign investment in closed vegetable and flower production systems. Irrigated agriculture, of which mainly smallholder farming, is one of the major water consumers. Because the amount of water extracted for irrigated agriculture is limited to 6,5 % of the evapotranspiration, the influence on the water balance seems limited. Direct extraction from Bulbula river and Lake Abyata however may have contributed to the decreased water levels of Lake Abyata. Most important source of income for smallholders is still rainfed agriculture and cattle keeping. Both activities have increased rapidly as a result of population growth and have resulted in large scale deforestation. Although the (limited) use of improved seeds and agrochemicals crop yields are low. Low input use, diseases and weather are the major constraints. Depending on the altitude, most important crops are wheat, maize, barley and teff,. Farmers tend to organize into cooperatives and unions, but the level of cooperation could be improved considerably.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering BSc (56952)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/68647
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