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Adoption of new technologies by smallholder farmers: the contributions of extension, research institutes, cooperatives, and access to cash for improving tef production in Ethiopia


  • Anne M. Cafer

    (University of Mississippi)

  • J. Sanford Rikoon

    (University of Missouri
    University of Missouri)


Agricultural intensification and extensification are standard responses to ecological and economic vulnerability among smallholder communities. Climate change has exacerbated this vulnerability and thrown the complexity of and critical need for managing a healthy natural resource base while increasing on-farm productivity into sharp light. Sustainable intensification is one of many mechanisms for accomplishing this balancing act. This study examines the adoption of sustainable intensification practices, namely input packages focused on tef row planting—designed to boost yield and promote more efficient use of inputs. This study utilized a mix methods approach to survey 115 smallholder farmers in the South Wollo zone of the Amhara region in Ethiopia. This study found that cash and capital, more so than contact with the AIS, influenced farmers’ decisions to adopt row planting input packages. Khat production was an important source of cash for inputs and was more likely to be available to farmers with irrigation schemes. Long-term, farmers who cultivate khat may not successfully engage in SI, as khat replaces traditional food crop production in the region. Yet, for farmers who do not grow khat, long-term investment in SI practices is unlikely unless access to affordable credit options is improved.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne M. Cafer & J. Sanford Rikoon, 2018. "Adoption of new technologies by smallholder farmers: the contributions of extension, research institutes, cooperatives, and access to cash for improving tef production in Ethiopia," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 35(3), pages 685-699, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:35:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10460-018-9865-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-018-9865-5

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