Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today inaugurated Gidabo irrigation dam that can irrigate over 13,400 hectares of land in Oromia and Southern regions of the country.
Built between Oromia and Southern region of Ethiopia West Guji zone in Sidama Zone in Southern area with 28.68 meters height, Gidabo irrigation dam can create 1,200 hectares artificial lake. The dam has 62.5 meter cube capacity and 335 meters length.
Speaking at the inauguration, Prime Minister Abiy stressed his government’s plan to focus on irrigation farming mobilizing local resources.
“The Gidabo Dam project has brought the people of West Guji and Sidama zones together,” he said.
Considering the government’s priority of agriculture & strengthening irrigation projects, he emphasizes that similar projects will bring together communities from different regions.
“It is a shame to beg wheat and engage ourselves in throwing stones to each other,” PM Abiy said, stressing the need to avoid wasting precious time and resources fighting because over political and ethnic differences.
“We need more of such irrigation dams to produce and feed wheat instead of fighting each other begging wheat,” he said. He also indicated that the country should focus on what it already has such as water, arable land and labor, instead of trying to industrialize using external loan and aid.
It can create jobs for 20,000 skilled youth and generates income to an addition to 10, 850 households engaged in farming and agro-pastoralists, according to Engineer Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water and Energy Minister.
PM Abiy also stressed similar irrigation projects, which link the people of two different regions [Oromia and Southern region], should be replicated to strengthen bondage between the people in different regions such as, between Amhara and Tigray and the like.
“We are not short of wealth. What we lack is that we are not working,” Lemma Megersa, President of Oromia Region said, indicating the need to avoid unnecessary political arguments and focus on work hard.
The Gidabo water used to create swamp area of 6,000 hectares before the irrigation dam was built, according to Engineer Abdulfeta Taju, Gidabo project head, who also indicated that the dam can also serve for fishery.
Launched nine years ago, Gidabo irrigation dam has cost the country over 1.14 billion birr (around $41 million) mainly because of design revision, which increased the irrigation capacity from 7,000 hectares to 13,000 hectares. The investment includes installation of over 7 kilometers of concrete canal, according to Engineer Abdulfeta.
Found within the Great Rift Valley, Gidabo River catchment area is known for growing one of the best coffee varieties in Ethiopia.
It is recalled that with fully local finance a few months ago Ethiopia inaugurates Rib Irrigation Dam, which has 800 meters of length and 99.5 meters of height. Rib is expected to develop over 20, 000 hectare of land and benefit 40, 000 farmers’ beneficiaries.