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Economics of soil and water conservation

theory and empirical application to subsistence farming in the Eastern Ethiopian highlands

Bekele, Wagayehu (2003). Economics of soil and water conservation. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria, 1401-6249 ; 411
ISBN 91-576-6433-1
[Doctoral thesis]

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Abstract

The Ethiopian highlands, inhabited by the vast majority of the Ethiopian human and livestock populations, are under continuous threat from soil erosion. Land degradation induced by soil erosion is considered to be among the major factors responsible for the recurrent malnutrition and famine problems in Ethiopia. Conservation efforts during recent decades have succeeded neither in triggering voluntary adoption of conservation practices nor in mitigating soil erosion problems. The purpose of this thesis is, therefore, to understand the socio-economic aspects underlying soil and water conservation decisions in the context of subsistence farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia. In articles I, III, and IV, the farmers’ decision problem is modeled as a utility maximization problem, and econometric models are used to link the statistical model of observed data and the economic model. Stochastic dominance criteria are used, in article I, to determine whether adoption of a conservation practice results in higher expected grain yield and income and/or reduced variability. Limited dependent variable econometric models are used in articles III and IV in order to determine factors that influence farmers’ decisions on soil and water conservation, and their preference for types of development intervention. In article II, the decision problem is modeled as an intertemporal net benefit maximization problem, and a dynamic programming optimization model is applied to determine the optimal path of investment in soil and water conservation. Findings in article I suggest that conservation results in higher expected grain yield and income, but does not support the hypothesis that conservation unambiguously results in less variability than no-conservation. In article II, it is shown that the optimal path of investment in soil and water conservation depends on the discount rate and grain prices. The results also suggest that erosive agricultural practices yield higher return in the short-term, whereas conservation yields a higher and sustainable return in the long-term. The need to design incentive mechanisms that encourage farmers to have a longer planning horizon are among important suggestions proposed in articles I and II. Results, in article III, suggest that specific physical conditions of plots and socioeconomic characteristics of farm households influence the soil and water conservation decision behavior of farmers. Article IV suggests that the perceived priority of farmers with regard to agricultural problems and socio-economic characteristics, determines their preference for the type of development intervention. The results also suggest that there exists a complementarity between different interventions and hence a need to address them simultaneously to ensure a higher return from interventions. An important lesson to be drawn from articles III and IV is that differences in farming conditions and complementarities between policy programs need to be noted in any intervention program.

Authors/Creators:Bekele, Wagayehu
Title:Economics of soil and water conservation
Subtitle:theory and empirical application to subsistence farming in the Eastern Ethiopian highlands
Year of publishing :September 2003
Volume:411
Number of Pages:47
Papers/manuscripts:
NumberReferences
ALLThis thesis is based on the following articles, by Wagayehu Bekele except where otherwise stated. Article III is accepted for publication in Ecological Economics. Article I, II and IV are in submission to Environmental & Resource Economics, Land Economics and Agricultural Economics, respectively. I. Stochastic dominance analysis of soil and water conservation in subsistence crop production in the Eastern Ethiopian Highlands: Case study of the Hunde-Lafto area. II. Optimal path of investment in soil and water conservation for subsistence food production in the Eastern Ethiopian Highlands. III. Soil and water conservation decision behavior of subsistence farmers in the Eastern Highlands of Ethiopia: A case study of the Hunde-Lafto area. Wagayehu Bekele & Lars Drake. IV. Aanalysis of farmer preferences for development intervention programs: A case study of subsistence farmers from the Eastern Ethiopian Highlands.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:91-576-6433-1
ISSN:1401-6249
Language:English
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:P Natural resources > P35 Soil fertility
E Economics, development, and rural sociology > E20 Organization, administration and management of agricultural enterprises or farms
Subjects:Not in use, please see Agris categories
Agrovoc terms:erosion, soil conservation, water conservation, subsistence farming, farmers, decision making, developing countries, ethiopia
Keywords:Soil erosion, soil and water conservation, subsistence farming, farmers’ preferences, decision behavior, development intervention
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-85
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-85
ID Code:362
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
Deposited By: Staff Epsilon
Deposited On:23 Sep 2003 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:04

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