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Roles of the social norms on participation in the communal land distribution program in Ethiopia


  • Oniki, S.
  • Berhe, M.
  • Negash, T.


Increasing population pressure in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa causes degradation of communal lands, as well as increases in landless farmers. To promote the conservation based utilization of communal lands and increase the incomes of poor farmers, the Ethiopian government introduced a distribution program of the less-utilized communal lands to landless farmers. Although this policy is a novel approach to reducing population pressure while maintaining soil and water conservation, participation is not active enough in some areas. As such, this study shows the social norms for natural resource conservation of the communities affect the participation in the program. Using original farm household data, it estimates models for program participation determinants, especially the effects of social norms for conservation, represented by proportion of area enclosure, amount of activities for soil and water conservation, and evaluation by local government. The results show that the social norms for conservation affect program participation positively. They also show that the norms do not affect the farmers incomes, meaning norms directly influence participation. These results suggest the possibility of norm enhancement by extension works. Therefore, the sustainable utilization of communal lands would be more effective if it accompanies programs that improve social norms of villages. Acknowledgement : We would like to thank the staff of the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development of Tigray Region, Natural Resource Office of Woreda Kilte Awelaelo and Woreda Atsbi Wenberta, and Mekelle University for their support in data collection. This study presents part of the results of Forest and Farmland Conservation for Watershed Management in the Ethiopian Highlands (FFCW) Project, a component of Watershed Management in Africa of Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).

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  • Oniki, S. & Berhe, M. & Negash, T., 2018. "Roles of the social norms on participation in the communal land distribution program in Ethiopia," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277070, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae18:277070

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