The Amhara Regional State irrigation scheme inauguration

By Samir Rayess Calvo

H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture in Amhara Region), inaugurated the irrigation scheme at Amhara Regional State.

The second phase of the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP II) became effective on 13th February 2017. Building on the lessons from the previous phase, PASIDP II aims to develop 18,400 ha of small-scale irrigation schemes and 60,000 ha of adjacent watersheds, directly benefitting 108,750 households in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and SNNPR regions. By improving their prosperity, food security and nutrition, farmers enhance their resilience against external shocks, including those induced by adverse weather and climate change. PASIDP II places great effort on enhancing smallholders’ access to markets by ensuring schemes’ financial viability and developing agribusiness linkages through training in agribusiness skills for all the participating farmers. Furthermore, the programme has increased efforts in making the irrigation schemes climate resilient through a landscape approach to watershed management, ensuring that irrigation command areas and downstream private and public facilities are protected. In this regard, the programme benefits from a USD 11 million grant sourced from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund.

On the 13th October 2017, a mission comprising PASIDP II staff, Steering Committee members of PASDIP II and IFAD visited the project area in the Amhara Regional State. On this occasion, the irrigation scheme in the Special Zone of Oromia in Amhara region (Jille Timuga Woreda) was inaugurated by H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture).  The scheme, was the first scheme to be finalized in the second phase of the programme. A total of 240 watershed committee members and 97 Irrigation Users Association members are the backbone of the scheme’s operation and sustainability, ensuring adequate conservation of the adjacent watershed and operation and maintenance of the scheme’s physical infrastructure. Obtaining water resources from Sewer river diversion, the scheme will irrigate 97 HA of land, benefiting 115 households (from which 23 are female-headed).

Thanks to the financial support from ASAP, the Regional Project Coordination Management Unit specialists have provided training on watershed management to 11 community watershed members, 8 Kebele (local administration) watershed committee members and 6 woreda (district) technical committee members.

H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa  (State Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources) and Ato Aytenew Endeishaw (Deputy Head of Bureau of Agriculture) inaugurating the irrigation scheme

H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa acknowledged the commitment of the regional government and particularly the villagers who hosted the field visit, and encouraged the stakeholders to develop irrigation in the area and work towards prosperity. The Deputy Head of Bureau Agriculture promised to provide all the necessary support needed and appreciated the commitment from all actors in the area.

The inauguration was followed by an interactive session in which the zonal head and PASDIP II irrigation engineer gave a brief presentation about the scheme, acknowledging the active involvement of all actors throughout the development of the scheme. Key stakeholders and irrigation users engaged in a fruitful discussion, appreciated the presence of the State Minister in the field visit and committed to strengthen their efforts to develop sustainable irrigation schemes. The Programme National Coordinator provided guidance for the key actors in the woreda and farmers to work towards the innovative features of the second phase of the programme, highlighting the importance of considering farming as business and rehabilitate the surrounding watershed in the area to sustain the irrigation schemes.

Field visit and interaction with farmers

At the end of the field visit, the Zonal Head offered the traditional costume of the area as a present to the key stakeholders, including IFAD, in recognition of their support to the farmers in the area.

 H.E. Dr Kaba Urgessa and Aytenew wearing the present given form the Zonal Head