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Goals and Strategies of Peasants in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia

Mariam, Yohannes and Galaty, John and Coffin, Garth (1993): Goals and Strategies of Peasants in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia.

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Multidisciplinary research methods such as observatory, participatory and multivariate regression analysis were employed to examine goals and strategies of two peasant communities in the Central highlands of Ethiopia. Continuing the family tradition of participating in social networks is found to be a universal normative goal of most study farmers. Securing subsistence food requirements and goals that may be used to characterise higher level of standard of living were ranked next to the normative goal. Five major goals were examined in relation to the normative goal. Furthermore, strategies identified by households were grouped into opportunistic, risk-minimization and long-range planning.

Statistical analysis of relationship between the five goals and strategies indicate that i) most strategies are relatively important in attaining goals selected for statistical analysis, ii) strategies which are proven to be useful from prior experience of other producers prior to this study tend to have a stronger relationship with the current goals of decision-makers (e.g. pesticides and fertilizer ), iii) the ranking of goals and strategies recognize region, enterprise and experience-specific comparative advantages of peasants, and iv) producers rank strategies hierarchically and goals ranked high in the hierarchy are valued high on subsequent goals (e.g. securing subsistence on livestock husbandry). Development projects could successfully increase the attainment of securing food self-sufficiency if they properly identify comparative advantages of farmers and regions, and examine the compatibility of intervention strategies with the goals and strategies of peasants.

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