Green revolution technology takes root in Africa: the promise and challenge of the Ministry of Agriculture/SG2000 experiment with improved cereals technology in Ethiopia

Examines economic benefits of introducing new technologies for maize and teff growing in Ethiopia, based on experimental projects. Considers their role as both food security and export crops, and the financial implications for extension and credit services.

Found that:

  • Improved technology is profitable for both maize and teff, even if output prices decline by 25% or 50%
  • Farmers who adapted technology packages—using lower fertilizer recommendations and in the teff case a different seed type—achieved as high or higher profits than farmers who used the full technology recommendations
  • Gains from storage are potentially great if storage insecticide is used and farmers are allowed to repay loans later in the marketing year
  • Improved seed and fertilizer represent 50-80% of total costs

Policy conclusions include:

  • Assuming that intensified production of maize and teff fills a domestic need that otherwise would have to be filled by commercial imports, it is highly profitable from society’s standpoint.
  • Whether intensified maize produced for export is profitable at the societal level depends on the prevailing export price
  • Accounting for the cost of extension and credit reduces the economic profitability of teff significantly; the impact on maize depends on whether it is an import substitute or an export

Discusses implication of extending the programme in increased cost of extension support, credit administration and input supplies. [author]

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