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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2011

Humboldt-University Zu Berlin, Division of Resource Economics, Philippstr.13, 10099 Berlin, Germany
International Water Management InstituteP.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
International Water Management InstituteP.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia International Livestock Research InstituteP.O. Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Corresponding author:


Improving water productivity depends on how local communal water and grazing resources are governed. This involves institutional and organizational issues. In the mixed farming systems of the Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia, non-participatory water users’ associations, neglect of traditional water rights, corruption, village power relations, inequitable allocation of irrigated land and free-grazing practice impact the governance of local common pool resources (CPR). Indigenous governance structures for CPR such as the kire are participatory and effective in terms of rule enforcement. Externally initiated governance structures lack acceptance by farmers and sufficient support from local government. In order to improve water productivity in the mixed farming systems, institutional deficiencies need attention and existing indigenous governance structures require recognition and support.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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