Thesis: The Economics of Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production Systems in Ethiopia: The Dynamics of Technology Adoption, Productive Efficiency and Risk
The purpose of this research is to investigate the determinants of persistent adoption of Sustainable Agricultural Practices (SAPs) and compare their welfare effects on food security, agricultural productivity and production variability among adopter and non-adopter smallholder maize farmers in Ethiopia. The project has three interrelated objectives: (i) investigate the determinants of persistent adoption of SAPs and their welfare effects, especially food security and income; (ii) evaluate and analyse the productivity effects of persistent adoption of SAPs; and (iii) investigate the factors that contribute to production risks (crop output variability and crop failure) and how these risks are affected by the adoption of SAPs. The study will bring together methods employed in economic impact evaluation and production frontiers to investigate the effect of technology adoption on food security, production efficiency and production risk, including estimation methods that take into account potential sample selection biases.
Why my research is important
Food insecurity is one of the key concerns in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and Ethiopia in particular where there is rapid population growth and low agricultural productivity. Currently, climate variability and decline of soil fertility are identified as key challenges to increasing agricultural productivity in ESA including Ethiopia. Yet food and nutrition insecurity in Africa and Ethiopia in particular, can be overcome by improving food availability through increased food production, food accessibility through increased purchasing power from farm income and food utilization through improved diet. SAPs or the pragmatic use of conservation agriculture practices combined with prudent and efficient use of scarce inputs may help enhance soil fertility and reduce the negative impacts of climate variability, which are the key challenges to increasing agricultural production and food insecurity in the region. Therefore, understanding the key determinants of persistent adoption of SAPs and their effects on smallholder farmers’ welfare will provide new insights into resource use options in the face of changing climate and associated production risks. This would contribute to improved design of policy options to increase production efficiency, reduce yield variability and crop failure, reduce vulnerability of farmers to climate variability, and ultimately contribute to the development of pathways for sustainable agricultural intensification. Such an understanding is of interest to donors and policy makers promoting sustainable agricultural practices in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.