Farmers Prefer Post-Harvest Grazing Restrictions but Demand Policy Incentives to Increase Forage Production

Research Brief
1 February 2020

Hailemariam Teklewold, Alemu Mekonnen, Tagel Gebrehiwot, Mintewab Bezabih

While livestock is an integral component of the mixed crop-livestock farming system in Ethiopia, there is competition between crops and livestock for the limited feed resources. The residue after harvest is one source of livestock feed but has other potential uses, including leaving it on the field to conserve soil and water and reduce weeds. The current practice is open access grazing, in which any farmer’s livestock can eat the residue left on another farmer’s fields. This study investigated farmers’ preferences for open access post-harvest grazing on private lands and the value they place on incentives that the government might provide for them to produce their own forage, in order to feed their own livestock on their own property. We found that a majority of the farmers surveyed would prefer a change from the open-access status quo to two-way grazing restrictions, where a farmer may exclude others from grazing on their parcel, but then cannot freely graze their livestock on others’ parcels. The result supports the need for multiple policy incentives for smallholder forage production systems, such as cash subsidy for labor, distribution of subsidized seed, and subsidized insurance coverage.  

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Publication | 18 May 2020