Addis Ababa September 8/2022/ENA/ A newly conducted research recommended that an integrated irrigation-energy planning is needed to address the energy scarcity for development of the irrigated agriculture in Ethiopia.
The research conducted by Ethiopian Policy Studies Institute (ISI) and Ministry of Water and Energy suggested that the government and other stakeholders promote adoption of irrigation technologies based on solar, electricity, and gird, with consideration on the type of energy most effective for the location and the crop to be irrigated.
According to the research, even if irrigation development is widely perceived as an important means to improve agricultural production in Ethiopia and the country has a potential to cultivate about 1.1 million hectares with ground water, it is hampered by the prevalent energy poverty.
The study also revealed the relative cost-effectiveness of each energy solution by crop type and location.
Therefore, it recommended that the government and other stakeholders promote adoption of irrigation technologies using alternative energy sources.
Ethiopia launched the National Electrification Program (NEP) in 2019, which calls for providing energy support for development of irrigated agriculture in the country.
However, in energy planning in Ethiopia not much attention has been paid to the productive use of energy in agriculture, it added.
An integrated energy irrigation-energy planning is the approach needed to address the challenge because energy cost is a key determinant for economic feasibility of irrigation development which is particularly important as Ethiopia’s irrigation development potential is still uncertain.
On-gird electricity is the most cost-effective energy solution in areas close to the electricity transmission network, while among the two off-gird (solar photovoltaic technology and diesel), solar pv has advantage in the north and in eastern lowlands, the research noted.
The research suggested also an energy policy reform that removes the subsidies on fossil fuels to promote the use of irrigation systems powered by solar pv significantly.