Sustained agricultural growth is important for poverty reduction in Africa due to the significant role of the sector in the continent. The performance of agriculture depends, among others, on appropriate investment in the sector and the latter is constrained by a multitude of factors including land tenure insecurity. In the presence of tenure insecurity, the risk of losing land will create a disincentive to undertake investments when the present value of the productivity benefits from such investments would, under full tenure security, be higher than their cost.
In Ethiopia to enhance tenure security and reduce land disputes in rural areas a low-cost land certification and registration was launched in four big regions since 1998/9 and is being carried out. This is the largest land certification program in the last decade in Africa and possibly in the world. In Amhara region (our study area) this program began in 2003. There are limited studies on the role of this new program on investment in land and agricultural productivity (e.g., Deininger et al. 2009; Holden et al. 2009). Holden et al (2009) assessed the investment (tree and soil and water conservation) and crop productivity impact of this program in Tigray region of Ethiopia using panel data.
The proposed study is therefore expected to contribute to the growing but limited literature by focusing on impacts on the decision to grow trees as well as the number of trees grown using household-plot level data in the Amhara region. The objectives of the proposed study are:
- To analyze the effect of land certification on tree growing behavior on private plots of rural households in the Amhara region of Ethiopia
- To analyze factors other than land certification that have a significant effect on the number of trees planted on private plots of rural households
- To describe the nature, extent and distribution of tree planting by rural households
The household and plot panel data collected in 2005 and 2007 by the Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia together with its partners will be used in the analysis. It included over 1700 households and covers 7 districts and 14 peasant associations (Kebeles) in the Amhara region. The rich household–plot panel data will allow us to control for time-invariant unobservable village, household, and plot heterogeneity in the analysis of tree growing behavior by using difference-in-difference econometric method. To check result robustness we will also employ non-parametric technique such as propensity score matching method.
In addition to producing a working paper/discussion paper, we plan to write one article to be published in a peer-reviewed international journal and produce a policy brief. The findings of the study will be presented at conferences and workshops both to receive feedback and when the work is finalized to help support policy in the form of evidence based advice. It is hoped that the results of the study will contribute towards influencing the process of land policy formulation and implementation in particular and environmental policy in general in Ethiopia.