Skip to main content

2011-09-08 | Peer Reviewed

Pathways to breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia: Investments in agricultural water, education, and markets

Hanjra, Munir, Tadele Ferede and Debel Gutta, 2009, "Pathways to breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia: Investments in agricultural water, education, and markets", Journal of Agricultural Water Management, 96(11), 1596–1604, 2009.
Download reference

Investments in agricultural water management should complement or strengthen the livelihood and coping systems of the rural poor, and should thus be instrumental for breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia.

Underdeveloped water resources constrain progress towards poverty
reduction. We examine linkages and complementarities between
agricultural water, education, markets and rural poverty through an
empirical study using household level data from selected villages in
southern Ethiopia. We show that investments in irrigation can contribute
to poverty reduction, but the poverty reducing impacts of irrigation
water are greater when human capital and rural markets are well
developed. The size of landholding, access to irrigation water, on-farm
land and water conservation practices, literacy of the household head,
and years of education of adults are all significant determinants of
household welfare, and thus potential pathways for reducing poverty.
Expansion of cultivated land, particularly irrigated land, universal
literacy, and an extra school year for adults all reduce poverty,
but reductions in poverty are greater when irrigation is combined with
universal literacy. These findings call for simultaneous investments in
agricultural water, education, markets and related policy support
measures for reducing poverty in smallholder agriculture in Ethiopia.