Broad bed maker technology package innovations in Ethiopian farming systems: An ex post impact assessment
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Rutherford, A.S. 2008. Broad bed maker technology package innovations in Ethiopian farming systems: an ex post impact assessment. ILRI Research Report 20. 89p. Nairobi (Kenya): ILRI.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/253
This report is the latest of two separate ex post impact assessments conducted by ILRI 10 years apart. It provides timely insights into the welfare impacts of a technology package introduced in the early 1990s into the crop-livestock farming system of the Ethiopian highlands rich Vertisol soils. The Broad Bed Maker (BBM) was developed in the late 1980s from the traditional dual oxen drawn plough, the maresha by the Joint Vertisol Project (JVP). ILRI (formerly known as ILCA) in Ethiopia was one of five collaborating institutions on this project. The aim of the JVP was to improve the productivity of 7.6 million hectares of Vertisol soils in the Ethiopian highlands - 60% of Ethiopia's total Vertisols. The BBM is a type of a plough that was developed from the traditional dual oxen drawn plough, the maresha, in order to more efficiently make raised seedbeds and furrows at the time of seed covering - thus reducing water logging and encouraging early planting of improved cereals which could then be followed by a second pulse crop in the same growing season. The most important lessons learned from both ex post impact assessments for the Ethiopian government and research institutions like ILRI is discussed. ILRI's first ex post impact assessment (EPIA) of the BBM TP was undertaken in 1998 (Rutherford et al. 2001. This study quantitatively assessed the returns to the research investment in the Broad Bed Maker technology package using the economic surplus methodology. In terms of improving the welfare of farmers and consumers, the study found that the overall impacts were disappointing. However, some key lessons were learned in terms of constraints to the realization of the potentially significant welfare benefits this technology package offered. The first key lesson in relation to the BBM TP was that adopting and using the package exposed the farm households welfare to considerable risk. The second important lesson from the earlier assessment was that the type and quality of training received by farmers and MoA staff was often insufficient. Third, the human labour requirements and the oxen draught power were usually underestimated. Fourth, the BBM was too heavy if not used at the optimal time-particularly for oxen weakened by lack of feed and disease. Fifth, in the absence of a watershed approach to drainage, increased drainage on one plot often exacerbated water logging and erosion in neighboring plots. Ten years on, this ex post impact assessment was commissioned by ILRI to assess the current role of the same BBM TP in the sustainable utilization of Vertisol soils in Ethiopia. One major finding of the current study was that the BBM that has been extended to farmers by the MoA for the last four years is a single-beam BBM-most similar to a prototype of the double-beam BBM that was developed in the 1980s. No evidence was found of the use of the 1993/94 double-beam BBM that was the focus of the earlier ex post impact assessment so from this point forward, the term BBM refers to the single-beam BBM unless otherwise stated. While the BBM itself has evolved, the purpose for which it is used (i.e. making beds and furrows to allow early planting) has not changed between the two studies.