A comparative quasi-experimental analysis was made on the impact of small-scale irrigation interventions on household food security, taking irrigation water and farm extension users and non-users in persisting drought contexts in South West Ethiopia. A cross-sectional survey was employed to collect data from randomly selected respondents from both groups. The daily calorie intake was significantly different for the two groups and this was revealed by employing a descriptive statistic, probit model and a propensity score matching. The study concluded with the policy concern that while expanding small scale irrigation supported by productive farm extension packages improves household food security and food surplus for marketing, it also enhances: (1) inequality; (2) conflict over water triggered by the new arrangements; and (3) decline in water yield; risking sustainability of the use of the irrigation water. Such interventions thus demand environmental and land restoration measures.
Key words: Irrigation water, food security, land restoration, droughts.
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