Challenges and Prospects of Utilizing Irrigation Technologies: Survey of Ganta-Afeshum Woreda, Eastern Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia
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Irrigation is seen as the means of ensuring food security in Ethiopia. Thus the use of modern, advanced and resource efficient irrigation technologies is vital to increase farm output and take people out of poverty. This study is intended to examine the Challenges and Prospects of Utilizing Irrigation Technologies in Ganta-Afeshum Woreda of Eastern Zone, Tigray Region, Ethiopia. The objectives of the study is to evaluate the opportunities to use irrigation technologies , factors that influence Irrigation Technology Utilization by small-scale farmers and also looks the follow up used by the extension workers towards confirming the desirable Utilization of the Irrigation Technologies by the farmers .To serve these objectives, data was collected from 174 sample respondent farmers from four purposively selected „kabeles‟ by distributing questioner and this was also supplemented by semi-structured interview, focus group discussion and observation. Descriptive type of research was applied to analyze attained data. With regard to the prospects of effective Utilization of Irrigation Technologies, the result of the study has shown that availability of labour, agro-ecology, access to money, access to markets and support of government and NGOs were identified as major factors which can be prospect for utilization of new irrigation technologies. This study also identified that the difficulty in maintaining new irrigation technologies, lack of access to spare parts and shortage of water, lack of training, uncertainty about new irrigation inputs and lack of know-how, are the most serious challenges hindering irrigation development. In addition to that, the income possible from non-crop producing activities is found to be a major inhibitor in the development and utilization of irrigation technologies. The study also tried to assess the situation on follow-up and visits by extension agents, and found that farmers have no problem with the frequency of contact with the extension personnel, but with the timing and what occurred during the visits. Weakness of Local FTCs, Weakness of extension personnel in supporting farmers were also identified as a main hampering pointes of extension service. Therefore it would be better to exploit the opportunities and address confronts that are affecting the utilization of modern irrigation technologies.