Economic analysis of factors influencing adoption of motor pumps in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian economy depends heavily on smallholder agriculture, and this sector directly affects the country’s economic development, food security and poverty alleviation efforts. The adoption of smallholder irrigation technologies as a means to tackle these challenges has become an important policy issue in the development agenda of the country. The lack of access to low-cost irrigation technologies is, however, one of the major bottlenecks to increase smallholder irrigation. This paper examines the factors influencing farmers’ decisions to adopt low-cost small motor pumps. The analysis is based on a survey of 800 farm households in four regions of Ethiopia. We use a combination of econometric techniques to find comparable households among adopter and non-adopter sample households. First, we employ a multivariate probit model to check whether a correlation exists between motor pumps and other water lifting technologies (that is, bucket, treadle and electric pumps). A non-parametric matching method is used to identify a counterfactual (control group) among the non-adopter sample households. Finally, a probit model is adopted to model the determinants of farmers’ motor pump adoption decisions. Our analysis reveals that gender; age; ownership of oxen; access to extension; access to surface and shallow ground water; social capital and regional differences captured by a regional dummy, all influence farmers’ decision of motor pump adoption.