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Sustainable Agricultural Practices and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia: Does Agroecology Matter?

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  • Kassie, Menale
  • Zikhali, Precious
  • Pender, John
  • Köhlin, Gunnar

Abstract

Sustainable agricultural practices, in as far as they rely on renewable local or farm resources, present desirable options for enhancing agricultural productivity for resource-constrained farmers in developing countries. In this paper, we used two sets of plot-level data—from a low-rainfall area and from a high-rainfall area of Ethiopia—to investigate the impact of sustainable agricultural practices on crop productivity, with a particular focus on reduced tillage. Specifically, we sought to investigate whether reduced tillage results in more or less productivity gain than chemical fertilizer. The nature of the two sets of data allows us to examine whether the productivity of these technologies is conditioned by agroecology. Interestingly, our results revealed a clear superiority of reduced tillage over chemical fertilizers in enhancing crop productivity in the low-rainfall region. In the high-rainfall region, however, chemical fertilizer is overwhelmingly superior and reduced tillage potentially results in productivity losses. Thus, our results underscore the need to understand the role of agroecology in determining the profitability (in terms of productivity gains) of farm technologies. This has particular importance in formulating policies that promote technology adoption. In this particular case, our results support encouraging resource-constrained farmers in semi-arid areas to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, especially since they enable farmers to reduce production costs, provide environmental benefits, and—as our results confirm—enhance crop productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Kassie, Menale & Zikhali, Precious & Pender, John & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2009. "Sustainable Agricultural Practices and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia: Does Agroecology Matter?," Discussion Papers dp-09-12-efd, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-12-efd
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Dercon, Stefan & Christiaensen, Luc, 2011. "Consumption risk, technology adoption and poverty traps: Evidence from Ethiopia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 159-173, November.
    3. 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, March.
    4. John Pender & Berhanu Gebremedhin & Saumuel Benin & Simeon Ehui, 2001. "Strategies for Sustainable Agricultural Development in the Ethiopian Highlands," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1231-1240.
    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. Kassie, Menale & Holden, Stein T., 2006. "Parametric and Non-Parametric Estimation of Soil Conservation Impact on Productivity in the Northwestern Ethiopian Highlands," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25281, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. 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.
    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).
    9. Salvatore Di Falco & Jean-Paul Chavas, 2007. "On Crop Biodiversity, Risk Exposure, and Food Security in the Highlands of Ethiopia," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(3), pages 599-611.
    10. Honlonkou, Albert N., 2004. "Modelling adoption of natural resources management technologies: the case of fallow systems," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 289-314, July.
    11. Kassie, Menale & Zikhali, Precious & Manjur, Kebede & Edwards, Sue, 2008. "Adoption of Organic Farming Technologies: Evidence from Semi-Arid Regions of Ethiopia," Working Papers in Economics 335, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Asuming-Brempong, Samuel, 2010. "Land Management Practices and Their Effects on Food Crop Yields in Ghana," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 96830, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE);Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    reduced tillage; chemical fertilizer; crop productivity; matched observations; Ethiopia;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land

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