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Adoption of Organic Farming Techniques: Evidence from a Semi-Arid Region of Ethiopia

  • Kassie, Menale
  • Zikhali, Precious
  • Manjur, Kebede
  • Edwards, Sue

In the wake of the resource constraints for external farm inputs faced by farmers in developing countries, sustainable agriculture that relies on renewable local or farm resources presents desirable options for enhancing agricultural productivity. In this study, we used plot-level data from the semi-arid Tigray region of Ethiopia to investigate the factors influencing farmers’ decisions to adopt sustainable agricultural production practices, with a particular focus on conservation tillage and compost. While there is heterogeneity with regard to the factors that influence the choice to use either tillage or compost, results from a multinomial logit analysis underscored the importance of both plot and household characteristics on adoption decisions. In particular, we found that poverty and access to information, among other factors, impact the choice of farming practices significantly. We also found evidence that the impact of gender on technology adoption is technology-specific, while the significance of plot characteristics indicated that the decision to adopt particular technologies is location-specific. Furthermore, the use of stochastic dominance analysis supported the contention that sustainable farming practices enhance productivity. They even proved to be superior to use of chemical fertilizers—justifying the need to investigate factors that influence adoption of these practices and to use this knowledge to formulate policies that encourage adoption.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-01-efd.

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Date of creation: 15 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-01-efd
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  1. David R. Lee, 2005. "Agricultural Sustainability and Technology Adoption: Issues and Policies for Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1325-1334.
  2. Stefan Dercon & Luc Christiaensen, 2007. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: evidence from Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-06, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Negatu, W. & Parikh, A., 1999. "The impact of perception and other factors on the adoption of agricultural technology in the Moret and Jiru Woreda (district) of Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 205-216, October.
  4. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  5. Shiferaw, Bekele & Holden, Stein T., 1998. "Resource degradation and adoption of land conservation technologies in the Ethiopian Highlands: A case study in Andit Tid, North Shewa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 233-247, May.
  6. Grepperud, Sverre, 1996. "Population Pressure and Land Degradation: The Case of Ethiopia," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 18-33, January.
  7. Menale Kassie & John Pender & Mahmud Yesuf & Gunnar Kohlin & Randy Bluffstone & Elias Mulugeta, 2008. "Estimating returns to soil conservation adoption in the northern Ethiopian highlands," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 213-232, 03.
  8. Byerlee, Derek & Spielman, David J. & Alemu, Dawit & Gautam, Madhur, 2007. "Policies to promote cereal intensification in Ethiopia: A review of evidence and experience," IFPRI discussion papers 707, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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