Ethiopia has been highly affected by drought and climate-related hazards, and millions of people have been left without sustenance every year. To increase productivity and diversify the livelihood scenarios as an option, small-scale irrigation (SSI) schemes have been introduced.This study assessed the impact of SSI in achieving household livelihood improvement and the major challenges of SSI practices in the Gubalafto district. Questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation data collection tools were used. Proportionally, a total of 374 respondents were included.The collected data was analyzed by descriptive statistics. The application of SSI improved the annual income of irrigator households from 1978.12 to 10,099 Ethiopian Birr (ETB) (1 USD ≈ 20 ETB) before and after using irrigation with a standard deviation of 1534.32 compared to non-irrigators who have an annual average income of 3146.75 ETB with a standard deviation of 1838, respectively. It proved that 32.1% of irrigators increased their frequency of production due to irrigation. Shortage of water, access to improved seeds, marketing, and increment of farm input costs have been hindering SSI practices. Awareness campaigns for non-irrigators and adequate supervision for the irrigators by development agents (DAs) and district officials are important to improve the livelihood of farmers.
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