Crops / Ethiopia / Irrigation / IWMI / Value Chains / Water / WLE

LIVES action research approach can change the face of irrigation in Ethiopia

Philippe Lemperiere at the LIVES Commodity Value Chain Development Inception WorkshopThis week, the LIVES project (Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders) held a ‘Commodity Value Chain Development Inception Workshop in Addis Ababa.

The first days were dedicated to livestock value chain interventions and the launch of the project; the third day focused on irrigated crop value chains – fodder, fruits and vegetables. The session included presentations by Dirk Hoekstra and Edossa Etissa sharing respectively experiences from the IPMS project and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.

Philippe Lemperiere presented experiences and potential interventions from the perspective of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). He argued that investments in irrigation are driven by:

  • Overpopulation in some areas: Irrigation can be used to produce more crops per unit of land and per capita.
  • Climate: Irrigation is a buffer against rainfall variability and production of dry season cash crops.
  • Land degradation: Irrigation and watershed management can reverse degradation.
  • Low farmer productivity: Irrigation supports increased productivity in conjunction with improved farming techniques and improved Value chains.
  • Gender: Irrigation can enable rural women to increase their cash income and diversify family food sources.

In terms of the LIVES project, he proposed that target value chains be selected in a participatory way taking account of four main criteria: 1) The potential of the chain to increase the value added, raise incomes of actors and create jobs in rural areas. 2) The potential for significant increase of irrigated farming productivity and of production sold on the market. 3) The existence of private or public business support services wanting to improve and develop their activities. 4) Opportunities for technology improvement and institutional or organizational innovations.

He concluded that the action research focus of the project can “change the face of irrigation in Ethiopia” by:

  • Increasing smallholders’ access to inputs and markets;
  • Promoting locally adapted improved irrigated agriculture technologies;
  • Improving extension and business support services;
  • Strengthening water user associations and support services for better irrigation productivity and sustainability;
  • Securing smallholders’ water rights and sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Unleashing the potential of Ethiopian women.

See his presentation:


The Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project contributes to enhanced income and gender equitable wealth creation for smallholders and other value chain actors in Ethiopia through increased and sustained market off-take of high value livestock and irrigated crop commodities.

LIVES is jointly implemented by by ILRI (the International Livestock Research Institute), IWMI (the International Water Management Institute), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural research (EIAR), the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and regional Bureaus of Agriculture, Livestock Development Agencies, Agricultural Research Institutes and other development projects.

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