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Tenure security, resource poverty, public programs, and household plot-level conservation investments in the highlands of northern Ethiopia

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  • Fitsum Hagos
  • Stein Holden

Abstract

Land degradation poses a serious problem for the livelihoods of rural producers. Furthermore, there is rarely enough private investment taking place to commensurate the scale of the problem. This article examines the role of tenure insecurity, resource poverty, risk and time preferences, and community-led land conservation on differentiated patterns of household investment in land conservation in northern Ethiopia. We control for biophysical, household characteristics, market access conditions, and village level factors. Investments in soil bunds and stone terraces are specifically studied so as to capture the link between these various factors and the durability of conservation investments. We introduce the distinction between the determinants of the decision to invest and how much to invest in conservation. Regression results show that publicly led conservation programs seem to significantly stimulate private investment. A host of plot-level variables and household perceptions of returns on conservation investments, expressed in terms of perceived improvements in land quality and increased crop yields, were found to be critical to the decision to invest and intensify soil conservation. The evidence on the significance of households' attitudes toward risk aversion suggests the important role of risk and the household's risk-bearing capacity in the decision to intensify conservation measures. At the same time, tenure security indicators and households' resource endowments (resource poverty) had weaker effects in increasing willingness to invest and the level of investment made. The policy implications of these results point to the importance of agricultural research and extension efforts that target technologies which reduce household risk and poverty while enabling sustainable investments in conservation measures by individual households. Copyright 2006 International Association of Agricultural Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Fitsum Hagos & Stein Holden, 2006. "Tenure security, resource poverty, public programs, and household plot-level conservation investments in the highlands of northern Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 183-196, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:34:y:2006:i:2:p:183-196
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bellon, Mauricio R & Taylor, J Edward, 1993. ""Folk" Soil Taxonomy and the Partial Adoption of New Seed Varieties," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(4), pages 763-786, July.
    2. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Fenske, 2013. "Does Land Abundance Explain African Institutions?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1363-1390, December.
    2. Tankari, Mahamadou Roufahi, 4. "Action Levers For A Sustainable Farmland Management In Niger," International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics (IJFAEC), Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University, Department of Economics and Finance, vol. 3(4).
    3. Tanui, Joseph & Groeneveld, Rolf & Klomp, Jeroen & Mowo, Jeremiahs & Ierland, Ekko C. van, 2013. "Explaining investments in sustainable land management: The role of various income sources in the smallholder farming systems of western Kenya," 2013 AAAE Fourth International Conference, September 22-25, 2013, Hammamet, Tunisia 161275, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    4. Holden, Stein & Shiferaw, Bekele & Pender, John, 2004. "Non-farm income, household welfare, and sustainable land management in a less-favoured area in the Ethiopian highlands," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 369-392, August.
    5. Fenske, James, 2011. "Land tenure and investment incentives: Evidence from West Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 137-156, July.
    6. Debela, Bethelhem Legesse & Holden , Stein, 2014. "How Does Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program Affect Livestock Accumulation and Children’s Education?," CLTS Working Papers 8/14, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Centre for Land Tenure Studies.
    7. Bekele, Genanew & Mekonnen, Alemu, 2010. "Investments in Land Conservation in the Ethiopian Highlands: A Household Plot-Level Analysis of the Roles of Poverty, Tenure Security, and Market Inventives," Discussion Papers dp-10-09-efd, Resources For the Future.
    8. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:2:p:254-281 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Vondolia, Godwin Kofi & Eggert, Håkan & Stage, Jesper, "undated". "Nudging Boserup? The Impact of Fertilizer Subsidies on Investment in Soil and Water Conservation," Discussion Papers dp-12-08-efd, Resources For the Future.
    10. Ghebru, Hosaena & Khan, Huma & Lambrecht, Isabel, 2016. "Perceived land tenure security and rural transformation: Empirical evidence from Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1545, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Sullivan, Karen A. & Uchida, Emi & Xu, Jintao, 2010. "Impact of Risk and Time Preferences on Responses to Forest Tenure Land Reform: Empirical Evidence from Fujian, China," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61536, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Hagos, Hosaena Ghebru, 2012. "Tenure (in)security and agricultural investment of smallholder farmers in Mozambique:," MSSP working papers 5, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. Zenebe Adimassu & Simon Langan & Robyn Johnston, 2016. "Understanding determinants of farmers’ investments in sustainable land management practices in Ethiopia: review and synthesis," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1005-1023, August.
    14. Hanjra, Munir A. & Ferede, Tadele & Gutta, Debel Gemechu, 2009. "Pathways to breaking the poverty trap in Ethiopia: Investments in agricultural water, education, and markets," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1596-1604, November.

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