Despite economic development and social improvements, millions of family farmers in Ethiopia are still struggling with food insecurity. Lack of technology adoption by family farmers is often considered as the root cause for low agricultural productivity and persistence of food insecurity. Based on a study of family farms in southwestern Ethiopia, we show the complex nexus between family farming, food insecurity, and agricultural productivity. We collected qualitative and quantitative data through 300 sample household interviews; expert interviews with elders and village chairmen, agricultural extension agents, farmers’ cooperative heads, as well as experts in NGOs, research institutes, and state agencies; and on-farm observations with in-depth interviews and discussions with individual farmers. Our findings illustrate that everyday experiences, culture, knowledge, and priorities of farmers coupled with ecological and political factors play crucial roles—and need more consideration than the classic ‘lack of technology’ theorem.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited