Development of agriculture in Ethiopia since the 1975 land reform
A stated objective of the Ethiopian Government since it came to power in 1975 has been to increase the production of crops for both domestic consumption and export. Consequently, a number of plans and programs have been proposed and implemented to bring about such development in Ethiopian agriculture. This paper mainly focuses 011 a macro review of the general course of Ethiopian agricultural development since the land reform of 1975. The food production in Ethiopia has lagged behind the population growth as evidenced by the gap between the growth rates of population (3%) and food production (1.8%) over the period from 1970 to 1983. Recently, this situation has, perhaps, further deteriorated. Seventy-one percent of the total land mass is estimated to be suitable for agriculture, but only about 19% is cultivated. This suggests an underutilisation of land. Moreover, Ethiopia has a persistent subsistence production problem in agriculture. Agricultural research and education which are essential to development have not been given due attention by the policy makers. As a result, the agricultural technologies used by farmers have changed little in this century. Moreover, small-scale farmers, although still the most potent economic force in the country, have not been given the incentives necessary to expand production, and currently receive less than adequate support from the central government. Some 85%, 50%, and 79% of total agricultural credit, fertiliser and improved seeds respectively go directly to socialist enterprises (state farms and producers' cooperatives) which, up to 1985, have jointly accounted for only 5% of the total cultivated land and 4% of the national crop production. The favouring of large-scale and capital-intensive state-owned farming enterprises with credit, subsidies, and fiscal incentives, while neglecting smallholders, has contributed to the stagnation of agricultural production in Ethiopia. Overall, the analysis indicates that there has been no significant development of agriculture in Ethiopia following the 1975 land reform.
Volume (Year): 06 (1991)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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