Determinants of Changes in Cropping Patterns and Land-Use in Ethiopia: Evidence from Seven Rounds (1994-2009) of Survey Data
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lecture / presentation description
Climate change and international trade are rapidly changing the world. Both phenomena have day-to-day impacts that reach every corners of the globe. Farming communities in developing countries are not exceptions, as both climate change and dynamics of international trade have significant repercussions on crop yield, food prices, crop choices, and land-use patterns. Of particular importance to these communities is the lack of (or very limited) support they receive from their governments or from international development agencies to cope with the consequences of climate changes and changes in international trade patterns. Changing cropping and land use patterns are just two of the ways that such communities try to adapt to their changing environments. Understanding the inner workings of how climate change and international trade affect such farming communities, and how they have adjusted through changes in cropping pattern and land use, provide important and necessary insight for policy makers and donors interested in assisting these communities. The present study proposes to do such an analysis for farming communities in Ethiopia. Specifically, we will examine how farming communities in Ethiopia have changed their land use and cropping patterns, among other possible adaptations, over the past fifteen years as a result of exposure to climate change and increased international trade. The latter manifests itself through changes in prices, costs of inputs, and types of outputs of farms, whereas the impact of the former manifests itself in the form of changes in amount and timing of rainfall, resulting in changes soil content of farmland, and more. Over the past fifteen years, Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region have been exposed to noticeable changes in the climate conditions. Additionally, Ethiopia has become increasingly integrated into the global market both through trade and investment. As a result such study is not only timely but also warranted. To achieve these objectives, I will use seven rounds of Ethiopian Rural Households Survey (ERHS) datasets collected between 1994 and 2009 with the support of various international organizations. The survey gathers information 2 ranging from demographics to farming activities to anthropometric measures. The dataset includes not only household level information but also plot level information to track and understand the changes in land-use and cropping patterns for each plot of land that a household has owned over time. Although the datasets provide basic and necessary information to do the analysis, to supplement this datasets by factors external to households, I need to gather county or regional level information on the changes in weather condition (i.e. timing and amount or rain) and programs sponsored by governmental or non-governmental organizations. In addition, I also need to collect information on the export prices of major crops to relate changes in land-use and cropping pattern to the international trade dynamics. Once these three datasets (household survey data, weather condition data, and export prices data), I will use appropriate econometric technique to highlight on significant determinants of changes in land-use and cropping pattern over the fifteen years under study (1994-2009). I have used some of the Ethiopian Household Survey datasets in the past, and I have published a couple of journal articles on different but related topics using part of these datasets (only the first four rounds). Since then three more rounds of data have been added (1999, 2004, and 2009) following the same households for fifteen years. By any standard, this is a very rich dataset convenient to do such analysis on issues that take longer time to notice any significant change. Given the richness of the data, one could now ask even deeper questions to highlight on promising findings for policy-makers not only in Ethiopia but also for the Horn of Africa region.