8.04 Teferi Abate Adem; Svein Ege

The promises and perils of commercializing smallholder agriculture: Emerging patterns and comparative local evidences in Ethiopia

Over the past two decades, and especially beginning with the adoption of the Plan for the Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) in 2005, the Ethiopian government has pursued a high profile program of commercializing smallholder agriculture. This was to be achieved by deepening and expanding the scope of market participation of smallholder households (measured by the value of sales as a proportion of the total value of agricultural output). While the regimes stronger policy focus on historically marginalized farmers continues to be an admirable goal, on-the-ground effects of intensifying marketable crops, as opposed to traditional staples, on small household plots remain poorly discussed. There is also a growing body of research that seeks to contribute to this plan by identifying important structural and infrastructural factors that can help overcome smallholdersmarketing constraints.  Yet, on-the-ground effects of intensifying marketable crops, as opposed to traditional staples, on small household plots remain poorly discussed. This panel brings together leading researchers doing frontline research on the promises and perils of commercialization smallholder agriculture. The promises revolve around evidences of anticipated, commercialization-induced, changes including increases in productivity, output specialization, household income and food security. The perils relate to the impersonal logic of market forces which appears at odds with the ruling partys own moral economic discourse of unreserved partisan support to smallholder farmers.  This panel will engage with key questions that will help us formulate better understandings of these promises and perils. Specific questions we hope to explore include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What changes in broad agrarian structures are emerging because of smallholder commercialization?  Are these structures qualitatively new or repeats of the past which included moral alternatives to commercial pursuits?  To what extent is the program successful in achieving the officially stated goals of fostering agricultural productivity and output specialization, while reducing rural poverty and food insecurity?

  • What became of social differentiation - in terms of class, gender, generation, ethnicity, religion, and changing personal conditions of household heads - because of commercialization?

To what extent have micro-political processes been altered by the local effects of commercialization? What are the issues that unite or divide smallholder households, farmerscooperatives, local government agents, frontline agricultural development workers, and other value chain actors around the commercialization program?  What are the emerging trends around access to land, credits, training programs, social services and employment opportunities?


Mr BIRHANU MEGERSA LENJISO Transforming Gender Relations through the Market: The Impact of Smallholder Milk Market Participation on Women`s Intra-household Bargaining Position in Ethiopia 
Dr. & Prof. DEGYE GOSHU & MENGISTU KETEMA The Dynamics of Food Price Convergence in Ethiopia 
Dr. EGE Svein The New Economy 

Challenges and Prospects of Saving and Credit Cooperatives:  The Case of Kalu Woreda in south Wollo Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia

Dr. & Prof. TADESSE DABA & Masayoshi SHIGETA Nutritional, Socio-Economic, and Cultural Values of Teff (Eragrostis tef) Varieties in Ethiopia 
Dr. TEFERI ABATE ADEM The Moral Economy of Commercializing Smallholder Agriculture in Amhara Region