Social Networks and Factor Markets: Panel Data Evidence from Ethiopia

ESSP Working Paper 68. "Social Networks and Factor Markets: Panel Data Evidence from Ethiopia" by Kibrom A. Abay, Goytom A. Kahsay, and Guush Berhane

Abstract: In the absence of well-established factor markets, the role of indigenous institutions and social networks can be substantial for mobilizing factors for agricultural production. We investigate the role of an indigenous social network in Ethiopia, the iddir, in facilitating factor market transactions among smallholder farmers. Using detailed longitudinal household survey data and employing a difference-in-differences approach, we find that iddir membership improves households’ access to factor markets. Specifically, we find that joining an iddir network improves households’ access to land, labor and credit transactions between 7 and 11 percentage points. Furthermore, our findings also indicate that iddir networks crowd-out borrowing from local moneylenders (locally referred as Arata Abedari), a relatively expensive credit source, virtually without affecting borrowing from formal credit sources. These results improve our understanding of the roles non-market arrangements, such as social networks, can play in mitigating market inefficiencies in poor rural markets. The results also have important policy  implications for designing alternative policy measures which aim to improve these markets. Download the PDF

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The impact of regional GIS training

Since its inception, ESSP has been engaged in diverse capacity building programs with various government organizations.  Particularly, ESSP worked closely with the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) and Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (BoFED) to provide training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial data analysis and spatial database management. Through this relationship, and in collaboration with the regional universities to host the training and to share materials, the services provided by ESSP has productively built capacity in spatial data handling, manipulation and dissemination.

For a better understanding and measurable medium-term impact of the regional GIS training program, ESSP conducted a survey more than 6 months after the training to assess knowledge transfer amongst the training participants. Over half of the respondents noted an impact on their performance using GIS, and importantly, the impact on the organization.  Some issues were encountered largely relating to access to reliable technology. Nevertheless, the on-going use of the training materials and development of independent courses affirms the ease of use and practical nature of the materials, and which has undoubtedly facilitated the extension of GIS skills and capacity in academia and government agencies. This work has uncovered a requirement for further GIS training in the other regions. Download Outcome Note 1.

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The impact of micro-econometrics training

One of the key activities outlined by IFPRI/ESSP is strengthening the capacity and knowledge dissemination within the academia and research community in the country. As part of this mission, ESSP organized short-term training in cooperation with national universities, research institutes and other organizations. Over the last three years in association with EDRI, ESSP has provided training workshops on micro-econometric techniques and applications to young researchers and academics in economics. An emphasis was placed on practical assignments to analyze economic data as well as to
apply a variety of methodologies.

A follow-up survey, conducted more than 6 months after the ESSP training, reports that 90% of carefully selected participants increased skill levels and knowledge of micro-econometrics from the training. In particular, the hands-on teaching techniques to apply micro-econometric tools and techniques have been instrumental in transferring skills to the workplace. The direct and indirect impact reported by the on-going use of training materials, and their distribution and adoption in other courses, affirms the quality and valued resource such training has delivered to the learning community. Download Outcome Note 2.

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The impact of Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) training

A CGE model describes a steady-state economy where supply is balanced with demand. It considers all existing economic variables and the impact of any changes, and in particular changes in policy reform.  A CGE has become a standard tool for economic analysis. For this reason, ESSP in association with EDRI, put effort into achieving a training goal to build capacity in CGE modeling, coupled with disseminating knowledge on this increasingly used technology in government, non-government agencies and academia.  People from these institutions comprised the target audience for this training and subsequent training survey, which followed more than 6 months after ESSP’s training.

The CGE training emphasized the practical element using Ethiopian data, and encouraged learning largely through projects and group assignments.  The survey reports that nearly half of the participants incorporated these practical materials into other courses and delivered these to a further 186 students.  For 60% of participants, this was their first CGE training.

Most of the participants applied their new skills on completion of the course, and their motivation to develop their modeling skills further increased significantly. However, the survey highlighted the importance of continuous practice in order to build and maintain confidence and competence at using CGEs. Future consideration is therefore required to provide other opportunities for learning consolidation at an individual and organizational level.   Download Outcome Note 3.

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The impact of research on weather index insurance

Weather risk remains a major challenge to households in low-income economies whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. With over 80% of the population involved in the agricultural sector, the cost of uninsured weather risk can be substantial both in terms of immediate production losses to households as well as hindering them from making critical investments that promote livelihoods. Insuring against the weather has typically had low take-up rates, and even though there has been interest amongst individual farmers, there is little demand.

Well-organized insurance markets have the potential to help mitigate the adverse consequences of such risks by providing simple and affordable insurance products.  Moreover, recent developments in index-based weather insurance offer new possibilities to smallholder farmers.  However, the risks are only based on failing rainfall and do not take into account residual risks - a key challenge to convince farmers of the value of insurance.

IFPRI has tackled this problem by leading research and working together with: trusted traditional community groups (iddirs) where all households contribute, a private sector insurance company and a micro-finance institution (MFI). This risk-sharing approach with combined expertise, has encouraged insurance take-up and strengthened ability for communities to cope with crop failure and to finance emergencies.  Importantly though, building on existing community roots where trust is paramount, has shaped a successful scheme that is being scaled up commercially to become a valid business proposition for the future. Download Outcome Note 4.

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The impact of research on the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP)

For over 30 years, responses to food insecurity in Ethiopia were dominated by emergency food aid. While this food aid saved lives, it often failed to protect livelihoods and this became a growing concern.  In response, during 2005 the Ethiopian Government revised its emergency food aid system and launched the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) - a more productive approach to providing a safety net to vulnerable populations.  Furthermore, between 2010 and 2014, the Ethiopian Government stepped up its efforts to address both relief and development, with harmonized donor support. Through this more developmental approach, the PSNP provides a safety net for households that are both chronically food insecure and poor, and often affected by shocks. With an objective to assure food consumption, and simultaneously to protect and develop assets along with services, PSNP operates across widespread geographies and rural communities to determine eligibility to receive payments, based on specific criteria. Such payments are made to households that can contribute to Public Works (labor), or if labor is limited or impossible, unconditional support is provided. Through this infrastructure, PSNP contributes to a local enabling environment for community development.

Making a program of this magnitude well-targeted presents many challenges. Nevertheless, through IFPRI’s research into regular, fact-based monitoring of the allocation mechanism and appropriate targeting to assess change, this has impacted decisions within communities to assure PSNP works as it was intended, and that it continues to provide a supportive, fair, transparent and measured mechanism to overcome food insecurity in Ethiopia’s poorest households. Download Outcome Note 5.

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Synopsis: Teff: Nutrient Composition and Health Benefits

ESSP Research Note 34."Summary of Teff: Nutrient compostion and health benefits " by Baye, Kaleab

Summary of ESSP Working Paper 67. Teff (Eragrostis tef), has been cultivated and used for human consumption in Ethiopia for centuries. However, teff’s global use for human consumption has been restrained partly due to limited knowledge about its nutrient composition and the processing challenges faced in making teff-based food products. Over the past decade, teff’s gluten-free property has raised global interest. Consequently, literature on the nutritional composition, processing quality, and health benefits of teff has grown considerably. Compared to grain of other more common cereals, teff is superior in its nutrient composition. Its starch is slowly digestible; it is a good source of unsaturated fatty acids; and it is high in fiber and minerals, especially iron and calcium. Download the pdf.

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2014 Global Hunger Index

Global_Hunger_Index_2014_240The 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the ninth in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger. It shows that the world has made progress in reducing hunger since 1990, but still has far to go, with levels of hunger remaining “alarming” or “extremely alarming” in 16 countries.

This year’s report focuses on a critical aspect of hunger that is often overlooked: hidden hunger. Also known as micronutrient deficiency, hidden hunger affects more than an estimated 2 billion people globally. The repercussions of these vitamin and mineral deficiencies are both serious and long-lasting. Where hidden hunger has taken root, it not only prevents people from surviving and thriving as productive members of society, it also holds countries back in a cycle of poor nutrition, poor health, lost productivity, persistent poverty, and reduced economic growth.

For the full report please visit IFPRI.ORG

 

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Teff: Nutrient Composition and Health Benefits

ESSP Working Paper 67. "Teff: Nutrient composition and health benefits" by Kaleab Baye

Abstract: Teff (Eragrostis tef), has been cultivated and used for human consumption in Ethiopia for centuries. However, teff’s global use for human consumption has been restrained partly due to limited knowledge about its nutrient composition and the processing challenges faced in making teff-based food products. Over the past decade, the recognition that teff is gluten-free has raised global interest. Consequently, literature on the nutritional composition, processing quality, and health benefits of teff has grown considerably. The existing literature suggests that teff is composed of complex carbohydrates with slowly digestible starch. Teff has a similar protein content to other more common cereals like wheat, but is relatively richer than other cereals in the essential amino acid lysine. Teff is also a good source of essential fatty acids, fiber, minerals (especially calcium and iron), and phytochemicals such as polyphenols and phytates. Download the PDF

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ESSP Newsletter July – September 2014

The Ethiopia Strategy Support Program would like to present its quarterly newsletter for the months July - September 2014.
The Newsletter covers:

  • Upcoming eventsESSP_Newsletter_2014Jul-Sept_Page_1
    • “Improving nutrition in Ethiopia: How can bio-fortified crops play a role?” organized by Harvest Plus and EIAR, with support by ESSP. October 1-3, 2014. Ellily Hotel, Addis Ababa.
    • 15th Annual Conference of AESE on ‘Performance of the Ethiopian agriculture
      in the face of climate change: Development challenges and options’.
      November 27-28, 2014, Addis Ababa (venue to be confirmed)
  • List of recent ESSP publications:
    • Structure and performance of Ethiopia’s coffee export sector. 2014. Bart Minten, Seneshaw Tamru, Tadesse Kuma, and Yaw Nyarko. ESSP Working Paper 66 and  ESSP Research Note 29.
    • Determinants and impact of sustainable land and watershed management investments. 2014. Emily Schmidt, Paul Chinowsk, Sherman Robinson, and Ken Strzepek. ESSP Research Note 30.
    • Hydrological modeling of sustainable land management interventions in the Mizewa watershed of the Blue Nile Basin. 2014. Emily Schmidt and Birhanu Zemadim. ESSP Research Note 31.
    • Efficiency and productivity differential effects of the land certification program in Ethiopia. 2014. Hosaena Ghebru Hagos and Stein Holden. ESSP Research Note 32.
    • Perceptions, impacts and rewards of row planting of teff. 2014. Joachim Vandercasteelen, Mekdim Dereje, Bart Minten and Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse. ESSP Research Note 33.
  • Highlights of presentations in July - September 2014
  • Policy Related Analysis 'Teff: its nutrition and
    health benefits'.
  • and more
    Download the PDF (33KB)

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