Survey of Rural Situation for Gode Zone, Ethiopian Somali Region
Sponsor: Sanyu Consultants Inc.
Objective of the Study: The government of Ethiopia is employing a variety of schemes to help pastoral people cope with adversities caused by rain deficiency. One of these schemes is to help them adapt themselves to a settled life based on pump-irrigated agriculture. The Gode scheme is designed to achieve this goal. The objective of this study is to assess the rural situation of the Gode zone that stretches along the Wabeshebele River together with existing pump irrigation schemes established within a 20- km radius of Gode town, and also to identify potential ex-pastoralists who are willing to be engaged in irrigation agriculture and a settled life.
Methodology used: Four aspects of the Gode situation were analyzed:
(i) the socioeconomic,infrastructure and natural conditions;
(ii) the profile of pump-irrigation schemes;
(iii) the situation of pump irrigation beneficiaries;
(iv) the situation of the ex-pastoralists who are non- beneficiaries of the operating irrigation schemes.
Different methods and approaches were employed to study the four aspects of the Gode rural situation. The methods included primary data collection, using key informant interviews and focus group discussions, inventory survey and workshop with irrigation beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. Secondary data was also collected from different sources such as Agriculture Bureaus, Water and Energy Bureaus, CSA, Metrology Agency and Mapping Agency.
Findings :The study showed that despite the efforts being made by the government to help ex-pastoralists to benefit from a settled life based on pump-irrigated farming, agricultural production was low. The main factors contributing to the low production were the following: Lack of high capacity motor pumps for irrigating larger areas,
1. Lack of sustainable supply of fuel for the motor pumps as well as the high cost for it,
2. Irrigation canals being clogged by alluvial soil due to wind erosion,
3. Lack of proper equipment for cleaning clogged irrigation canals,
4. Lack of adequate farm machinery such as plows and disc harrows,
5. Poor maintenance of pumps, canal systems and farm machinery due to lack of trained technicians.
In addition to the above specificproblems, the study showed that the people engaged in the irrigation schemes suffered from physical weakness due to lack of adequate and proper nutrition. They have no culture of saving resources for tomorrow and are very much dependent on external input such as government food assistance. They are also seriously affected by their limited farm experience and lack of crop diversification, depending mainly on maize. The study further showed that flooding, followed by heavy rains on the highlands during the rainy season, as well as lack of markets and unpredictable prices of fertilizer and other agro-chemicals are some of the additional challenges faced by ex-pastoralists engaged in the pump irrigation agriculture scheme.
Despite all of the challenges pointed out above, the participants engaged in the motor pump irrigation scheme of the Gode area have several strengths and opportunities. As a community, they have high motivation for work. They are hardworking, supportive of each other and strongly committed to the management of the scheme. Furthermore, they have good climate, plenty of fertile land available for cultivation and abundant water from the Wabeshebele River, for irrigation. Add to this a supportive government and additional assistance available from a variety of NGOs operating in the area. In short, if the challenges mentioned above could be met through a close collaboration among the community, governmental development agents and other development partners in the region, the motor pump irrigation scheme could be highly productive and transform the life of the community.