Photo credit: ICRISAT


A new study has found that improved chickpea adoption by farmers in Ethiopia significantly increased household income while also reducing poverty. The study found that a 10 percent increase in the area planted with improved chickpea is associated with a 12.6 percent increase in income per capita and a 12.3 percent increase in total income. The study also indicates that adopting improved chickpea varieties can reduce the probability of a household being below the US$2 poverty line.

The study found that an increasing number of farmers adopted improved varieties in the Shewa region between 2006-07 and 2013-14 seasons. “In 2006-07 only 30% of farmers planted improved chickpea. By 2013-14 this share rose to almost 80%. The area dedicated to improved chickpea moved up from 0.17 hectare average to more than 0.4 hectare by 2014. Furthermore, many households started planting chickpea, bringing the share of chickpea growers up to 90% from an initial 65%,” said Dr Kai Mausch, Scientist-Economics at ICRISAT- Kenya.

The increased input use associated with improved chickpea cultivation contributes to significantly higher yields. These increased yields allow households to sell a larger share of their production into the market. While improved varieties command only a small mark-up, the return to improved chickpea is significantly higher given the significantly larger volume of sales. All this leads to chickpea sales making up a larger share of total income for those who adopt improved varieties. “Overall, increasing access to improved chickpea appears to be a promising pathway for rural development in Ethiopia,” said Dr Mausch.

Read the full article: ICRISAT

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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