The Impact of Agricultural Bio-Chemical Technologies on Rural Household Food Security: The Case Study of Two Weredas in Oromia Region

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Addis Ababa University


The Ethiopian agricultural sector, as well documented in many literatures, is characterized by poor technology adoption and as a result low productivity per unit area. The food supply alld demand gap is so high with its resultant outcome of high prevalence of temporary and chronic food insecurity. The dependence on rainfall, severe environmental degradation and high man land ratio are some of the major problems of the sector with their consequent results of persistent crop failures, drought and famine. To curb the problem of food shortages and food insecurity, the country has adopted various strategies in which use of agricultural bio-chemical technologies (Jertilizer, ---- improved seeds alld chemicals), in one way or anoth2r, has been the centerpiece of these _ strategies. The contributioll of these agricultural bio-chelilical inputs, undoubtedly, is positive for food self-sufficiency rather than for food security. This is also true for areas where there is abundant and reliable rainfall. /n lowland areas where moisture is critical for crop production, their impact on increased grain production could be marginal. Thus the hypothesis of this research is that the use agricultural biochemical illputs alone callnot be a means to achieve reasonable level of household food security due to variations in resource endowments at household level, ecological variations, incom?gap and unique characteristics of the households themselves. To prove this hypothesis an intensive review of literatures and data was made. Primary data were also collected from two weredas (HelOsa and Dodota-Sire) of Arsi zone Oronlia Region consisting of ten peasalll associations (kebeles) and 142 households. The hypothesis of this research is proved 10 be true, that fertilizer, improved seeds and chemicals by themselves have insignificalll contriburion and they only explained 21.1 per cent of the variations in household food security (the food self-sufficiency scenario) or thirty three per cent ill the case of food availability scenario. Only fertilizer has a ---significant impac/ on food security among the three. The variations in food security level is more explained by a combined effect of many socioeconomic variables. Taking into consideratioll eleven variables they explained 81 per cent of the variations in the level qf household food security. Thus, the policy implication is that household food security is lIlultidimensional, complex and driven by factors ranging from economic, social, political and socio-cultural as well as environmental. To alleviate this problem a single productioll oriented strategies, mainly focussed on use of modem agricultural inputs, which may not be affordable and suitable for resource poor and various agro-ecologies cannot be an appropriate measure. The strategy should, rather, aims at the inherent condition of the s:ocioeconomic and socio-cultural as well as environmental settings of that particular locality



Impact of Agricultural Bio-Chemical