By Sara Gustafson
Over the last decade, Ethiopia’s dairy sector has expanded rapidly. Urban consumers have significantly increased the amount of money they spend on dairy products, and the number of domestic dairy processing firms has tripled to meet the growing demand. All of these signs point to significant structural transformation, which plays an important role in reducing poverty and increasing welfare in developing countries. However, a new study finds that despite its recent strong growth, Ethiopia’s dairy sector still faces some important hurdles.
Efforts to increase rural incomes and reduce rural poverty in developing countries often focus on policies to lower transport costs and increase market access among poor and remote rural populations. Despite the growing importance of such policies, however, it is not entirely clear to what extent and through which channels increased market access impacts rural individuals’ and households’ nutrition outcomes and overall wellbeing. A recent paper published in World Development seeks to answer these questions in the context of rural Ethiopia.
Biofortified crops, such as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, have been shown to reduce malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency, especially in children, and increase farm households’ incomes. Whether or not farmers adopt these new crops, however, depends on individual farmers’ perceptions of biofortification’s benefits.
Better linking Africa’s rural smallholder population to national, regional, and international agricultural value chains is a key rural development and poverty reduction priority. Which types of interventions will be successful in improving such linkages is highly context-specific, however, depending on the country, the target population, and the specific product being marketed. In a new book , IFPRI researchers examine how to best evaluate and implement context-specific value chain development (VCD) interventions, with several case studies conducted in Africa south of the Sahara.
Agriculture in West Africa faces numerous challenges, including soil degradation, market instability, and significant threats from climate change. In response to these obstacles, many adaptation strategies, such as production of non-traditional crop varieties, have been encouraged. It remains less clear, however, what actually drives farmers’ decisions to adopt (or not adopt) these strategies. For example, a farmer may choose to plant a new crop variety in response to a short-term drought or as part of a longer term strategy to adapt to climate change.