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Tenants’ land access in the rental market: evidence from northern Ethiopia

Gebru, Menasbo, Holden, Stein T., Tilahun, Mesfin
Agricultural economics 2019 v.50 no.3 pp. 291-302
climate, commercial farms, entrepreneurship, farm size, farmers, households, issues and policy, kinship, markets, models, small farms, Ethiopia
The purpose of this study is to investigate the allocation efficiency in the tenancy market, and thereby the potential of the market to facilitate operational farm size adjustment that can help land‐poor tenant households to transform into smallholder commercial farms. We analyzed three rounds of balanced panel data for the production seasons 2005–2006, 2009–2010, and 2014–2015 collected from 320 smallholder farms in Tigrai region in northern Ethiopia. Random effects dynamic probit and tobit models are used to assess how land‐poor tenants’ access and extent of access to land are affected by state dependency (earlier participation in the market), kinship ties, climate shocks, and legal restrictions. The results indicate that state dependency and kinship ties with the landholder had strong positive effects on participation and intensity of participation. Climate shocks significantly affected the intensity of participation of tenants already in the rental market. Tenants’ overall access to rented land had not improved from 2005–2006 to 2014–2015. The amount of land accessed by those already in the market was insufficient for them to become commercial farmers. The important policy implication is that orchestrated interventions at community level are needed to reduce transaction costs and thereby improve land access of entrepreneurial tenants.