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2011-11-21 | News

Findings on sustainable agricultural practices presented at EEPFE

Research seminar fifth on the ''Interdependence in farmer technology adoption decisions in smallholder systems: Joint estimation of investments in sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs) in Rural Tanzania'' was presented by Dr. Menale Kassie in Addis Ababa University on November 14, 2011.

The School of Economics in Addis Ababa University in Collaboration with the Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia organized a research seminar on November 14, 2011. The title of the research was "Interdependence in farmer technology adoption decisions in smallholder systems: Joint estimation of investments in sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs) in Rural Tanzania'' presented by Menale Kassie from CIMMYT, Nairobi.

The research based its assumption on the fact that farming in Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by poor soil fertility and low levels of agricultural technology use, thus necessitating the adoption of soil fertility- and productivity-enhancing practices to restore soil fertility and increase productivity.

The study focused on examining the joint adoption decision of seven SAPs, using multiple cross-sectional plot-level observations, collected in 2010 from 681 farm households and 1,539 plots, in 4 districts and 60 villages of rural Tanzania. The SAPs considered include legume inter-cropping, conservation tillage, soil and water conservation, legume crop rotations, animal manure, improved seeds, and chemical fertilizer application.

The result indicated that rainfall, insects and disease shocks, government effectiveness, tenure status of plot, social capital, plot location and size, and asset ownership, all influence the adoption decision of SAPs. Policies that target SAPs and are aimed at organizing farmers into associations, improving land tenure security, and enhancing skills of civil servants can increase the likelihood that smallholder farmers will adopt SAPs.

It is possible that other factors such as profitability, risk associated with adoption of technologies, and their impact on poverty alleviation can affect adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. The presenter recommended the need for further study to examine the productivity, risk, environmental, and welfare implications to individual and combinations of sustainable agricultural practices.

For more information contact the author Menale Kassie at m.kassie@cgiar.org.