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Integrated soil fertility management and household welfare in Ethiopia

Denise Hörner and Meike Wollni

Food Policy, 2021, vol. 100, issue C

Abstract: Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) is a set of locally adapted soil fertility technologies and improved agronomic practices promoted to enhance soil fertility, crop productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers. While the suite of practices is site-specific, the use of improved seeds, organic and inorganic fertilizers constitute core ISFM technologies. ISFM is mostly related to higher input and labor demand, but there is little evidence whether these investments pay off at the household level. Using data from maize, wheat and teff growing farmers in two agroecological zones in Ethiopia, we assess whether the adoption of core ISFM technologies is associated with changes in household welfare, measured by total household income, food security and education. In addition, we look into resource allocation decisions within the household as potential drivers of welfare outcomes. We use the inverse probability weighting regression adjustment method. Results show that adopting ISFM core components for maize, wheat or teff is associated with higher labor demand as well as income obtained from these crops in both agroecological zones. Yet, only in one agroecological region, it also goes along with enhanced household income, food security and school enrollment. By contrast, in the other region, we find that technology adoption for at least one of the three crops is related to a reduced likelihood of engaging in other economic activities, pointing towards labor reallocation effects. We conclude that welfare outcomes of agricultural innovations can be heterogeneous depending on farmers’ income diversification strategies.

Keywords: Technology adoption; Household income; Food security; Education; Labor; Inverse probability weighting regression adjustment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J23 O13 O33 Q12 Q16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.102022

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