Strategies for Sustainable Agricultural Development in the Ethiopian Highlands uri icon

abstract

  • Land degradation is a severe problem in the Ethiopian highlands. Factors that may be important in influencing land management and its impacts on resources and human welfare include low and uncertain rainfall in much of the highlands, limited market access and market development, land tenure insecurity, credit constraints, farmers' limited education or limited awareness of technological opportunities, poverty, and government policies and programs affecting these factors. Evidence on the impacts of such factors and possible strategies for overcoming land degradation and poverty in the Ethiopian highlands is still sparse. There are recent studies that did not consider most of the socioeconomic and policy factors mentioned above. This study addresses these issues using data on changes in land management and resource and poverty indicators collected in a large number of villages in the Ethiopian highlands. It investigates the impacts of policy factors such as land tenure policies, the presence of various programs and investments in infrastructure, as well as impacts of population pressure and control of omitted variable bias caused by unobservable fixed factors
  • This paper investigates the impacts of population growth, market access, agricultural credit and technical assistance programs, land policies, livelihood strategies and other factors on changes in land management, natural resource conditions and human welfare indicators since 1991 in the northern Ethiopian highlands, based on a survey of 198 villages. We find that population growth has contributed significantly to land degradation, poverty and food insecurity in this region. In contrast, better market access and some credit and technical assistance programs were associated with improvement (or less decline) in land quality, wealth and food security; suggesting the possibility of 'win-win-win' development outcomes with appropriate interventions. Land redistribution was associated with adoption of inorganic fertilizer, but also with declining use of fallow and declining soil fertility. We find also that different land management practices are adopted where different livelihood strategies are pursued, suggesting the importance of considering livelihood strategies in technical assistance programs. Development strategies should be tailored to the different comparative advantages of different locations; no 'one-size-fits-all' strategy will work everywhere

publication date

  • 2001
  • 2001
  • 2001
  • 2001