This paper attempts to demonstrate how access to irrigation determines household’s decision to the extent of market participation in irrigated compared to rainfed systems. By doing so the paper identifies the role of irrigation in share of land allotted to cash crop production, while at the same time highlighting its role in market participation decision of farm households. The results from the sample t-test indicate that irrigation contributes significantly to increase in cash crop production and market participation decision by inducing shifts in farmers cropping mix. Analyzing household data from Kilte-Awlaelo woreda in Eastern Tigray, the findings from the 2SLS model revealed that production value, amount of credit and means of transport by car and mule as reference to human power have positive and significant association with households’ market participation decision. While, non-farm income and using donkey as a means of transport compared to human power have significant and negative association with households’ market participation decision. Overall, this paper concludes with implication for policy to link irrigation development with road infrastructure development and improvements in other marketing services, thus, can help in the long-term transform traditional subsistence agriculture into more market oriented and modern agriculture.