Livelihoods of the rural people of Ethiopia depend on agriculture. However, erratic nature of rain and prevalence of drought in the country make agricultural production a challenge. To counter this problem, use of the available water resource for irrigation development is the most promising option. Ketar small scale irrigation scheme is found in Ketar-Genet Peasant association, Tiyo District, Arsi zone, established with the aim of improving level of income and food security of beneficiary households. Nevertheless, no previous study was conducted on the contribution of the scheme to income and food security of households. Thus, this study was conducted with the objective to investigate the contribution of small-scale irrigation to rural household income and food security. The required data set for the study were gathered primarily through survey method from 130 randomly selected sample households both from irrigation users and non-users (65 each). Structured interview was used as data collection method. Both descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to analyze the required data. Results of the study revealed that, income from irrigated vegetable crops contributed for 21.38% of the total annual crop income for the irrigation users; irrigation users were in better position in terms of livestock (7.58 to 4.38 TLU) and oxen ownership (1.78 to 1.12 TLU); participation in credit (52 to 23%) and the use of extension advisory services. Results of the logit model indicated that age of household head, education level of household head, size of the cultivated land, number of oxen, livestock holding (TLU), income from livestock and irrigation found to be influencing household food security at 1, 5, and 10% significant levels. In general, the empirical analysis confirms that small-scale irrigation development would have positive impact on income and food security of beneficiary households. Thus, the concerned development partners being governmental or non-governmental should join hands to promote the development of such small scale irrigation schemes.
Key Words: Small-scale irrigation, food security, agricultural production.
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