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Wheat Varietal Diversification Increases Ethiopian Smallholders’ Food Security: Evidence from a Participatory Development Initiative

Elisabetta Gotor (), Muhammed Usman, Martina Occelli (), Basazen Fantahun (), Carlo Fadda (), Yosef Gebrehawaryat Kidane (), Dejene Mengistu (), Afewerki Yohannes Kiros (), Jemal Nurhisen Mohammed (), Mekonen Assefa (), Tesfaye Woldesemayate () and Francesco Caracciolo ()
Additional contact information
Martina Occelli: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
Basazen Fantahun: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
Carlo Fadda: Bioversity International, 00100 Rome, Italy
Yosef Gebrehawaryat Kidane: Bioversity International, 00100 Rome, Italy
Dejene Mengistu: Bioversity International, 00100 Rome, Italy
Afewerki Yohannes Kiros: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 34, 56025 Pontedera, Italy
Jemal Nurhisen Mohammed: Department of Dryland Crop and Horticultural Sciences, College of Dryland Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mekelle University, P.O. Box 231, Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia
Mekonen Assefa: Sirinka Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 74, North Wollo, Woldia, Ethiopia
Tesfaye Woldesemayate: Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI), Addis Ababa 1000, Ethiopia

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 3, 1-17

Abstract: This study assesses the impact of a participatory development program called Seeds For Needs, carried out in Ethiopia to support smallholders in addressing climate change and its consequences through the introduction, selection, use, and management of suitable crop varieties. More specifically, it analyzes the program’s role of boosting durum wheat varietal diversification and agrobiodiversity to support higher crop productivity and strengthen smallholder food security. The study is based on a survey of 1008 households across three major wheat-growing regional states: Amhara, Oromia, and Tigray. A doubly robust estimator was employed to properly estimate the impact of Seeds For Needs interventions. The results show that program activities have significantly enhanced wheat crop productivity and smallholders’ food security by increasing wheat varietal diversification. This paper provides further empirical evidence for the effective role that varietal diversity can play in improving food security in marginal environments, and also provides clear indications for development agencies regarding the importance of improving smallholders’ access to crop genetic resources.

Keywords: on-farm diversity; adoption; durum wheat; crowdsourcing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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