Increasing Returns to Drip Irrigation Adoption in Ethiopia



Ram Fishman

Senior lecturer of Public Policy at Tel Aviv University

Learn more  

08/01/2022 - 03/31/2024
Credit, Externalities, Information, Input and Output Markets
Technology Category
Extension, Inputs, Irrigation


Despite promising returns from vegetable production in Ethiopia, small-scale farmers have largely failed to benefit from the opportunities for growth afforded through adoption of new technologies. There are several possible reasons why farmers might forego the opportunity to grow higher value crops. For example, farmers may lack access to the capital needed to invest in productive technologies such as irrigation and fertilizer, to information about optimal agronomic practices, or to larger markets that reward quality. Can a targeted package of services, designed to equip farmers with irrigation technology, quality inputs, information, and market linkages help small farmers in Ethiopia adopt better practices for horticultural production, and thus make more income? 

This pilot will evaluate the Tikkun Olam Ventures (TOV) program implemented by the Jewish Development Committee in cooperation with the Government of Ethiopia. Researchers will evaluate whether additional services, like information, inputs, and market linkages, beyond the loan for irrigation technology improves farmer returns. The first phase of the project will involve 200 farmers who are randomly divided into three groups: the first treatment group will receive an in-kind loan consisting of a drip irrigation system (USD$2,000), the second treatment group will receive complementary inputs in addition to a loan for drip irrigation, and the third group will serve as a comparison. By randomly selecting which farmers will receive irrigation and/or complementary inputs, researchers will identify how bundling drip irrigation technology and inputs affect returns compared to drip irrigation only. Future phases of the pilot will assess the effect of TOV’s extension services and market linkages on farmers’ outcomes. 

This pilot is ongoing, and results are forthcoming.