In the lowlands of Bale Zone, mainly in Madda Walabu and Dallo Mana district, despite the presence of ample surface water resource which can be used for irrigation, farmers and agro-pastoralists promote rainfed agriculture which may leads them to severe crisis in the concurrent situation of the country. Thus, the objective of this research was to assess the household Irrigation Practices at Madda Walabu and Dallo Mana Districts of Bale Zone, South Eastern Ethiopia. Sampling locations was identified on the basis of prominent activities of irrigation practices along the river. This was done primarily by collecting list of irrigation water users for crop production from their respective kebele administration office. A total of 353 household were selected to achieve the objectives of the study. Data related with constraint, opportunity and prospects of irrigation were collected from sampled household. In order to ensure the reliability and validity of the data, individual interviews, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and direct field observation were held. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics through SPSS version 20. The result obtained from descriptive statistics reveals that Age, religion , marital status, farm experience, size of farm land and Livestock holdings had insignificant relationship with access to irrigation water whereas family size, sex structure, education level, extension service and credit were the major factors that statistically significant in explaining practice of irrigation. According to the result of the focus group discussion and the household survey, lack of improved inputs supply, imperfect market, financial shortage ,crop damage by pest and disease and lack of training are the major constraints prioritized by farmers in Delo Mena and Madda Walabu Districts. The study also investigates the opportunity and future prospects of irrigation sector in the study districts and identified availability of High water potential (HWP), Commitment from the side of the community (CFC), Suitable for large scale investment (SLI), Indigenous knowledge of the community (IK) and Suitable settlement of the community to support each other (SSC) as a major opportunities and future prospects of irrigation development in the study districts. The government or Non -governmental organization should design and launch small scale irrigation scheme through constructing irrigation canal to benefit the large segment of the people.
Keywords: irrigation, constraint and opportunity, agro-pastoralists