IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Determinants of Agricultural and Land Management Practices and Impacts on Crop Production and Household Income in the Highlands of Tigray, Ethiopia

Listed author(s):
  • John Pender
  • Berhanu Gebremedhin

This paper investigates the land management practices used in the highlands of Tigray, northern Ethiopia, the factors influencing them and their implications for crop production and income. Several factors commonly hypothesised to have a major impact on land management and agricultural production--including population pressure, small landholdings, access to roads and irrigation and extension and credit programmes--are found to have limited direct impact on crop production and income, though most affect the intensity of production. The increase in farming intensity due to these factors has limited impact on value of crop production and income due to low marginal product of labour in crop production, limited productivity impact of inputs such as fertiliser in the moisture-stressed environment of Tigray and limited adoption of such inputs. We find that profitable opportunities exist to increase agricultural production and achieve more sustainable land management in the highlands of Tigray. These opportunities include improvement of crop production using low-external input investments and practices such as stone terraces, reduced tillage and reduced burning. The comparative advantage of people in the Tigray highlands is apparently not in input-intensive cereal crop production but more in such low-input approaches and in alternative livelihood activities such as improved livestock management and non-farm activities. As a result, greater emphasis on developing these alternatives in agricultural extension--as the government of Tigray has been pursuing more recently with its extension programme--and other development programmes is needed. Food crop production should not be ignored in the development strategy, but more prudent use of external inputs such as fertiliser and improved seeds, and greater emphasis on low external input sustainable land management practices, would be helpful. Copyright 2008 The author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 395-450

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:395-450
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

Phone: +44-(0)1865 271084
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:395-450. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.