Abstract— Selection of a viable irrigation cropping system, while considering all agronomy and extension constraints, has always been a scientific and professional challenge for agricultural scientists and practitioners. However, this prevailing challenge can be scientifically addressed using optimization techniques among them linear programming model. The model could take in the initially introduced percentage of crops as an entry point for optimization subjected to all introduced constraints while maximizing the farming income. Favorably, Microsoft Excel program includes a linear programming solver tool, which could be utilized for this purpose. The solver tool could easily be accessed from Excel program Data menu after activating the Add-Ins part of the Excel Options.
Accordingly, a simple and low input linear model was developed applying the Excel Solver tool to optimize the irrigation cropping pattern for the Mekabo small-scale irrigation scheme currently under construction in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The input parameters were collected from field surveys and an assessment of the on-farm agronomic conditions. The objective function was subjected to agronomy and extension constraints as well as minimum required crop levels to comply with food security strategy. The model could find a viable solution while all constraints and optimality conditions were satisfied. A sensitivity analysis was also performed to analyze all other likely development scenarios. This paper will introduce the developed model and will discuss the processes led to the attainment of an optimized cropping pattern.
Keywords— Small-scale irrigation, cropping pattern, linear programming model, optimization technique.
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