Working Paper

Adoption of Organic Farming Techniques: Evidence from a Semi-Arid Region of Ethiopia

Feb 15, 2009 | Menale Kassie, Precious Zikhali, Kebede Manjur, Sue Edwards

This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .


In the wake of the resource constraints for external farm inputs faced by farmers in developing countries, sustainable agriculture that relies on renewable local or farm resources presents desirableoptions for enhancing agricultural productivity. In this study, we used plot-level data from the semi-arid Tigray region of Ethiopia to investigate the factors influencing farmers’ decisions to adopt sustainable agricultural production practices, with a particular focus on conservation tillage and compost. While there is heterogeneity with regard to the factors that influence the choice to use either tillage or compost, results from a multinomial logit analysis underscored the importance of both plot and householdcharacteristics on adoption decisions. In particular, we found that poverty and access to information, among other factors, impact the choice of farming practices significantly. We also found evidence that the impact of gender on technology adoption is technology-specific, while the significance of plot characteristics indicated that the decision to adopt particular technologies is location-specific.Furthermore, the use of stochastic dominance analysis supported the contention that sustainable farming practices enhance productivity. They even proved to be superior to use of chemical fertilizers—justifying the need to investigate factors that influence adoption of these practices and to use this knowledge to formulate policies that encourage adoption.