Assessment of Factors Affecting Agricultural Production: Evidence from Smallholder Farmers of Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia
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As a backbone of Ethiopian economy, from the inception, agriculture is subsistent and encountered different backbreaking challenges. Stemming from this logical ground, this study considered the determinants of agricultural production; with due emphasis on determinants of crop production, effect of off-farm participation on agricultural production and agricultural marketing determinants nexus production. Cross sectional data, supplemented by interview and FGD, was collected through semi-structured questionnaire administered on 270 randomly selected smallholder farmers. Descriptive statistics and econometric techniques mainly OLS and Probit regression models were employed to analyze the data. Results showed that, majority of the respondents were male-headed and productive labor force who reluctantly use chemical fertilizer, HYV, row spacing; credit rationed, EWs non-visited and association members. With irrigation presence and these all positive applications, crop production was found to be increased. Besides, farm income was found to be determined significantly by age, family size, land size, plot distance, plot slope, fertilizer use, row spacing, credit access and membership to an association; where age and steep plot slope carried negative sign. Farm households do participate in off-farm activities as an alternative for dwindling farm income and small arable land size; where their crop yield was far lower than non-participants. Their probability of participation was significantly determined by gender, age, education, family size, TLU, draft animals, location and amount of credit taken; where age, TLU and location dummies hold negative sign. Transportation facilities, selling soon after harvest due to inventory credit problem; and producing non-marketable products were among the main determinants of agricultural marketing. It is therefore, recommended that, irrigation water need to be availed, contractual agreement to show productivity of HYV need to be facilitated, fertilizer should be employed on the basis of soil information, collective financing of EWs need to be introduced; inventory credit should be given; and farmers need to be trained on most effective non-farm activities.