Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia’

Impact of farmland exclosure on the productivity and sustainability of a mixed crop-livestock system in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Posted by gabrielamartinez on , in Journal Articles

56910Authors: Baudron, F.; Mamo, A; Tirfessa, D; Argaw, M.

Published in: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 2015, vol. 207, 109-118 p.


Livestock provides numerous benefits to smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa, but also represents a potential agent of environmental degradation. Exclosures have been implemented in grazing areas for the past decades in Ethiopia and have been effective in regenerating natural vegetation, controlling soil erosion and increasing soil fertility. More recently, the principles of exclosure have been applied to farmland in pilot areas of Ethiopia. This paper analyzes the impact of eight years of farmland exclosure in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. The performance of ‘exclosed farms’ (EF) – in which livestock was excluded from the farmland throughout the year – was compared to the performance of neighboring ‘open grazing farms’ (OF) – in which fields were open for aftermath grazing in winter. EF and OF had significantly different feed and fuel use strategies. Compared to OF, EF relied less on cereal residues, farmland grass, and livestock dung, and more on biomass produced in the communal grazing area (trees and grass) and tree biomass produced on-farm. Because of these different patterns of feed and fuel use, more biomass – in the form of crop residue, manure and compost – was available as soil amendment in EF. This translated into significantly more fertile soils and significantly higher tef yields in EF as compared to OF (1980 644 kg ha1 in EF vs. 1173 434 kg ha1 in OF). These results demonstrate that farmland exclosure is a practical pathway toward sustainable intensification. However, attention should be drawn to three points: (1) the approach impacted positively on crop productivity, but had a negligible impact on livestock productivity, (2) EF livestock still depended partially on grazing (outside of the exclosure) for their acquisition of feed, pointing at the fact that zero-grazing sensu stricto may not be realistic in semiarid areas of Ethiopia, and (3) land rehabilitation through controlled grazing may only be feasible in particular geographic locations (e.g., physical barriers preventing outside livestock to access the area, and presence of alternative grazing areas in the vicinity).

Ex post impacts of improved maize varieties on poverty in rural Ethiopia

Posted by gabrielamartinez on , in Journal Articles

56882Authors: Zeng, D.; Alwanga, J.; Nortona, G.W.; Shiferaw, B.; Jaleta Debello Moti; Yirga, C.

Published in: Agricultural Economics, 46: 1-12, 2015.


Public agricultural research has been conducted in Africa for decades. While many studies have examined its aggregate impacts, few have investigated how it affects the poor. This paper helps fill this gap by applying a new procedure to explore the ex post impacts of improved maize varieties on poverty in rural Ethiopia. Plot-level yield and cost changes due to adoption are first estimated using instrumental variable and marginal treatment effect techniques where possible heterogeneity is carefully accounted for. A backward derivation procedure is then developed to link treatment effect estimates with an economic surplus model to identify the counterfactual household income that would have existed without improved maize varieties. Poverty impacts are finally estimated by exploiting the differences between observed and counterfactual income distributions. Improved maize varieties have led to a 0.8–1.3 percentage drop of poverty headcount ratio and relative reductions of poverty depth and severity. However, poor producers benefit the least from adoption due to the smallness of their land holdings.

Restoring cropland productivity and profitability in northern ethiopian drylands after nine years of Resource-Conserving Agriculture

Posted by gabrielamartinez on , in Journal Articles

56841Authors: Araya, T.; Nyssen, J.; Govaerts, B.; Baudron, F.; Carpentier, L.; Bauer, H.; Lanckriet, S.; Deckers, J.; Cornelis, W.M.

Published in: Experimental Agriculture, In press.


Long-term in situ soil and water conservation experiments are rare in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Eastern Africa. A long-termexperiment was conducted (2005–2013) on aVertisol to quantify the impacts of resource-conserving agriculture (RCA) on runoff, soil loss, soil fertility and crop productivity and economic profitability in northern Ethiopia. Two RCA practices were developed from traditional furrow tillage practices: (i) derdero+ (DER+) and terwah+ (TER+). DER+ is a furrow and permanent raised bed planting system, tilled once at planting time by refreshing the furrow and 30% of crop residue is retained. TER+ is ploughed once at planting, furrows are made at 1.5 m intervals and 30% crop residue is retained.

The third treatment was a conventional tillage (CT) with a minimum of three tillage operations and complete removal of crop residues. Wheat, teff, barley and grass pea crops were grown in rotation. Runoff, and soil and nutrient loss were measured in plastic sheet-lined collector trenches. Significantly different (P < 0.05) runoff coefficients (%) and soil losses (t ha−1) averaged over 9 yrs were 14 and 3, 22 and 11 and 30 and 17 for DER+, TER+ and CT, respectively. Significant improvements in crop yield and gross margin were observed after a period of three years of cropping This study demonstrated that RCA systems in semi-arid agro-ecosystems constitute a field rainwater conservation and soil fertility improvement strategy that enhances crop productivity and economic profitability. Adoption of RCA systems (DER+ and TER+) in the study area requires further work to improve smallholder farmers’ awareness on benefits, to guarantee high standards during implementation and to design appropriate weed management strategies.

Determinants of maize stover utilization as feed, fuel and soil amendment in mixed crop-livestock systems, Ethiopia

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Agricultural Systems, 2014.

Jaleta Debello Moti; Kassie, M.; Erenstein, O.

Crop residues have several uses in smallholder mixed crop-livestock systems. This paper examines determinants of households’ maize stover use as livestock feed, fuel and soil amendment in maize-based systems in Ethiopia. In these systems maize stover is primarily used as feed (56% of biomass) and fuel (31%), with the feed use share negatively associated with maize production potential. We develop a Seemingly Unrelated Regression model to capture the interdependence of crop residue uses. Results show extension training on crop residue retention in the field results in more residue use for soil amendment and less for feed. Farmers with more livestock tend to use more residues for feed and less for soil mulch. Cropping pattern, farm size, agro-ecology and crop residue production also influence crop residue utilization. Conservation agriculture interventions have implications for crop residue use and need to consider access to information, cropping patterns, resources endowments and other socio-economic factors in their development and targeting.

Adoption of improved wheat varieties and impacts on household food security in Ethiopia

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy, 2013

Shiferaw, B.;Berresaw Menale Kassie; Jaleta, M.; Yirga, C.

This article evaluates the impact of the adoption of improved wheat varieties on food security using a recent nationally-representative dataset of over 2000 farm households in Ethiopia. We adopted endogenous switching regression treatment effects complemented with a binary propensity score matching methodology to test robustness and reduced selection bias stemming from both observed and unobserved characteristics. We expand this further with the generalized propensity score (GPS) approach to evaluate the effects of continuous treatment on the response of the outcome variables. We find a consistent result across models indicating that adoption increases food security and farm households that did adopt would also have benefited significantly had they adopted new varieties. This study supports the need for vital investments in agricultural research for major food staples widely consumed by the poor, and efforts to improve access to modern varieties and services. Policies that enhance diffusion and adoption of modern wheat varieties should be central to food security strategies in Ethiopia.

Resettlement and woodland management problems and options: a case study from North-Western Ethiopia

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Land Degradation and Development, 2013

M. Lemenih, H. Kassa, G. T. Kassie, D. Abebaw and W. Teka

Deforestation in African dry forests is widespread and its drivers are complex and vary in space and time. In this paper, we assessed impacts of immigration on dry forests and options for improved management in a resettlement district in north-western Ethiopia. Key informants interviews, focus group discussions and household questionnaire survey were used to collect data. The results indicated that forests of the district are degrading in spatial coverage and quality. The most important drivers were land use change, excessive wood harvest, grazing pressure and forest fire following immigration. The continuous influx of people with different origins, cultures, religions and lengths of residence in the district underscores absence of social bonds for collective action to regulate access. This, coupled with weak formal regulatory system, market forces and policy incentives for farming, resulted in a near open access situation. Our findings confirm the negative relationships between migration and environment not necessarily because of the mere population number added through immigration but because of lack of regulatory frameworks (formal or informal) and poor social capital. Enforcing existing policy of farm size and putting institutional framework on the ground to regulate rate of immigration, extraction of forest products and to encourage tree planting to meet wood demand are suggested measures. We conclude that Government programmes that opt for resettlement as a measure for poverty alleviation must also have mitigating measures to reducing negative impacts on the natural resource base. Thus, the trade-off between environment and development must be carefully managed.

Cropping system diversification, conservation tillage and modern seed adoption in Ethiopia: Impacts on household income, agrochemical use and demand for labor

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Ecological Economics 93 : 85-93, 2013

Hailemariam Teklewold, Menale Kassie, Bekele Shiferaw and Gunnar Kohlin

The type and combination of sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs) adopted have a significant effect on agricultural productivity and food security. This study develops a multinomial endogenous switching regression model of farmers’ choice of combination of SAPs and impacts on maize income and agrochemicals and family labor use in rural Ethiopia. Four primary results were found. First, adoption of SAPs increases maize income and the highest payoff is achieved when SAPs are adopted in combination rather than in isolation. Second, nitrogen fertilizer use is lower in the package that contains system diversification and conservation tillage. Third, conservation tillage increased pesticide application and labor demand, perhaps to compensate for reduced tillage. However, when it is used jointly with system diversification, it does not have a significant impact on pesticide and labor use. Fourth, in most cases adoption of a package of SAPs increases women workload, suggesting that agricultural intensification technology interventions may not be gender neutral. This implies that policy makers and other stakeholders promoting a combination of technologies can enhance household food security through increasing income and reducing production costs, but need to be aware of the potential gender related outcomes.

Adoption of multiple sustainable agricultural practices in rural Ethiopia

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2013

Hailemariam Teklewold, Menale Kassie and Bekele Shiferaw

 The adoption and diffusion of sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs) has become an important issue in the development-policy agenda for sub-Saharan Africa, especially as a way to tackle land degradation, low agricultural productivity and poverty. However, the adoption rates of SAPs remain below expected levels. This study analyses the factors that facilitate or impede the probability and level of adoption of interrelated SAPs, using recent data from multiple plot-level observations in rural Ethiopia. Multivariate and ordered probit models are applied to the modelling of adoption decisions by farm households facing multiple SAPs, which can be adopted in various combinations. The results show that there is a significant correlation between SAPs, suggesting that adoptions of SAPs are interrelated. The analysis further shows that both the probability and the extent of adoption of SAPs are influenced by many factors: a household’s trust in government support, credit constraints, spouse education, rainfall and plot-level disturbances, household wealth, social capital and networks, labour availability, plot and market access. These results imply that policy-makers and development practitioners should seek to strengthen local institutions and service providers, maintain or increase household asset bases and establish and strengthen social protection schemes in order to improve the adoption of SAPs.

Interdependence of smallholders’ net market positions in mixed crop-livestock systems of Ethiopian highlands

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics  4 (7): 199-209, 2012

Moti Jaleta and Berhanu Gebremedhin

Using simultaneous-equation models, this paper examines whether there is interdependence between smallholder’s net market positions in crop and live animal markets under mixed crop-livestock system. Household level data collected in 2009 from 1075 sample households in 10 districts of Ethiopia are used for this analysis. Results confirmed the existence of interdependence between household’s net positions in crop and live animals markets and relatively, the net position of households in the live animal market is more strongly affected by their net position in the crop market than vice versa. The interdependence between the two market positions showed that households stock live animal asset through selling of surplus crops produced and finance crop purchased through livestock sales. The relatively strong effect of net position in crop market in explaining household’s net positions in live animal market shows the extent of household’s reliance on its position in the crop market while dealing with its participation in live animal market. Thus, policies/strategies enhancing smallholders’ participation in crop and live animal markets in mixed crop-livestock system should pay attention to the production and marketing of both commodities simultaneously.

Are soil conservation technologies “win-win?” A case study of Anjeni in the north-western Ethiopian highlands

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Published in Natural Resources Forum 35(2):89-99, 2011

Are soil conservation technologies “win-win?” A case study of Anjeni in the north-western Ethiopian highlands

Menale Kassie; Gunnar Köhlin; Randy Bluffstone; Stein Holden

This study measures the impact of fanya juu terraces on the net value of crop income in a high-rainfall area in the Ethiopian highlands using cross-sectional multiple plot observations. Using propensity score matching methods we find that the net value of crop income for plots with fanya juu terraces is lower than for plots without fanya juu terraces. This finding makes it difficult to avoid concluding that while the technologies might reduce soil erosion and associated off-site effects, they do so at the expense of poor farmers in the Ethiopian highlands. Therefore, fanya juu terraces cannot be characterized as a “win-win” measure to reduce soil erosion. New agricultural technologies need to be profitable to the farmer if they are to be adopted and sustained.