Construction and Reforestation in Tigray,Ethiopia: economic Analysis and policy implications

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Lire Ersano

The government of Ethiopia has initiated a major rural development program in the northern state of Tigray through construction of micro-dams and reforestation of the surrounding watersheds. It was argued such investments would rehabilitate degraded environments, improve irrigation possibilities, and ultimately improve agricultural productivity and supply of local energy resources. However, the permanent standing water these projects bring may increase transmission of water-borne diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis. Both diseases are debilitating and reduce the ability of households to work and require adjustment on time allocation for productive activities, as family members often stay home and care for the sick. The United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), who generously funded the research, also voiced this concern. This study examines the economic viability of water development projects with health side effects. We examine the interrelationship between microdam investments, disease, and household time allocation decisions for production, consumption and healthcare activities. The analyses show that time individuals spent sick, home healthcare time, and implicit opportunity costs of caring for the sick are significant predictors in production and labor decisions. Although microdam investments in Tigray appear welfare enhancing, the ensuing sickness led to significant declines in labor productivity, and subsequently depressed the expected returns from water development. Malaria’s impact on children health was particularly important, as their sickness causes the greatest impact and distortions to family time and income. The findings highlight the need to take into account the health side effects of development programs. They also underline the importance of pushing for greater coordination among economic development, environmental and healthcare goal

Corporate Author: Alemayehu Seyoum(Editor) & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: Microdam

Secondary Descriptor: Health, Malaria

Geographic Descriptors: Ethiopia, Tigray
Cataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: Forests and forestry
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2004
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: II
Publication date: 2013-05-27 23:04:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 14:45:34
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Lire Ersano , Gregory S.Amacher, Microdam

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