The Future of Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia
Bernhard Freyer1, Jim Bingen2, Yoseph Tewodros Delelegn3
1University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Division of Organic Farming, Austria
Ethiopian smallholder farmers face a long list of challenges. Is organic farming the solution? A conversion to organic confronts the following facts: Productivity is compromised by extensive soil erosion, soils pH below 5, low soil fertility. Farmyard manure is often burned; animal density is nearly 100% above the carrying capacity of the land; a decline of natural forests; lack of crop rotation, ploughing with oxen up to five times; low seed bed quality; no application of lime; harvest and post harvest losses up to more than 50%; inadequate or non-existent storage facilities and processing equipment. Land: farm size is limited with approx. 0,5-2,0 ha per farm; pressure on communal land through growing population and land grabbing; and finally, farmers' land rights are limited. Markets: weak value chains and linkages to markets; high fees demanded by market brokers; export crops like vegetables or flowers, or organic coffee or honey, currently do not offer an opportunity to seriously raise income.
Keywords: Ethiopia, organic farming, policies, smallholder, transformation
Contact Address: Bernhard Freyer, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Division of Organic Farming, Gregor Mendel Straße 33, 1180 Wien, Austria, e-mail: Bernhard.Freyerboku.ac.at