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Determinants of crop mixes grown on household farms in Northern Ethiopia


Rural households in semi-arid areas often experience rainfall-related shocks that result in low and uncertain income. Household's survival depends on the ability to anticipate and to cope with this uncertain income. Through time, households have developed ex-ante risk management and ex-post risk coping strategies. These include crop portfolio adjustments and off-farm activity diversification. This paper investigates the role of rainfall variability and farmer risk aversion behavior on household's crop portfolio choice. To answer the research questions Heckman's selection model is used. The method was applied to a four-year panel data of two districts in Northern Ethiopia, Tigray.
The study showed that farmer's ex-ante strategic response to rainfall variability is through diversification of crops to be grown. Choosing the crops most suited to specific rainfall conditions was proven a strategy of farmers to cope with unpredictable rainfall. In times of low rainfall, the dominant crops to be chosen are teff and grass pea.
Ex-ante crop choice and reliable water availability for farming can be viewed as complements. These complementarities suggest that policies that focus on rainwater harvesting techniques and promoting small-scale irrigation would promote fertilizer adoption

Corporate Author: 
Getnet Alemu and Edilegnaw Wale (Editor) & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: 

ex-ante risk management, ex-post risk coping strategies

Secondary Descriptor: 

crop choice

Geographic Descriptors: 
Ethiopia, Northern
Cataloge Date: 
Broad Subject heading: 
rainfall variability
Call Number: 
330.963 PRO 2009
Serial Key Title: 
Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: 
Content type: 
Publication date: 
2013-12-27 23:09:00
Forum or Discussion date: 
2013-02-27 15:02:17
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: 
Current frequency: