Rural families always need to manage lack of market access and low-input low-output mixed farming to survive. The diverse farming systems and role of livestock on livelihood strategy and market orientation of rural farmers of Ethiopian highlands were investigated through this study.
Rural families always need to manage lack of market access and low-input low-output mixed farming to survive. The diverse farming systems and role of livestock on livelihood strategy and market orientation of rural farmers of Ethiopian highlands were investigated through this study. The analysis was based on a survey of 307 households from 3 districts: Jeldu, Shambu and Fogera. Data analysis was done by factor analysis. Results showed that market oriented activities such as cash income from livestock and livestock products were the major elements of rural livelihood strategies, as well as age and experience of farming of household head. Similarly, livestock units, land and the value of household assets (agricultural and non- agricultural assets) also determined the status of livelihood of a household. Increment in the quantity of these variables represented a higher status of farmer known as ‘stepping up’, while medium range represented about ‘stepping out’ and lower range represented ‘hanging in’.
The existing production level of crop-livestock mixed farming was low (more local livestock and lower production) and more than 60% of total production was consumed at home. This indicates that rural farmers did not have sufficient access to market. As a consequence, most of rural products were sold through informal chains like to neighbours, relatives and small restaurants. However, market was the major driving force to change the livelihood strategies of rural farmers to move from level to the next level (i.e. from ‘hanging in’ to ‘stepping out’ or ‘stepping up’). The annual household income was less than 300 euros. Contribution of off-farm and non-farm activities to household income was small or negligible. Sharing of livestock was also practiced in these areas being a factor in social relationships and household income.
Good linkage with the market and promotion of new technology like keeping improved breeds would be the solutions to improve the livelihood of rural areas from Ethiopian highlands. Bulk production of livestock and livestock products would help rural farmers to compete in the formal market channel with urban commercial farmers.
Student: S Ale Pathak
Supervisors: ing F Steenstra
dr ir S Oosting