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Peer-Review Record

Farmers Willingness to Participate In Voluntary Land Consolidation in Gozamin District, Ethiopia

Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Received: 10 September 2019 / Revised: 9 October 2019 / Accepted: 10 October 2019 / Published: 12 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Women, Youths, and Land Tools or Methods)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

In keywords should be added something about statistic method from article and I think that "willingness of landholder farmers" it is not necessary.

I suggest to write in the introduction what the fragmentation of land in the world looks like, e.g. list the countries in which it occurs.

Line 77 - it is worth writing in which European countries it was.

Line 62, 184, 297,  - I think that every table should be reference in the text

Line 125-127 - I suggest that you should  describe the purpose of the research more widely.

Line 368 - authors wrote "table 3" but I think it should be "table 5"

 

 

Author Response

Response to Reviewer 1 Comments:

 

Dear Reviewer:

 

First, thank you for your valuable comments to improve the paper. We considered all of them.

Point 1: In keywords should be added something about statistic method from article and I think that "willingness of landholder farmers" it is not necessary.

Response 1: We deleted “willingness of landholder farmers” and added “maximum likelihood estimation” (see from p.1: line 36-37).

Point 2: I suggest to write in the introduction what the fragmentation of land in the world looks like, e.g. list the countries in which it occurs.

Response 2: Land fragmentation have occurred in many countries. Exemplary, we incorporated some of them such as: experiences with quantifying the impact of land fragmentation on agricultural production efficiency reveals that negative association. studies done in Nigeria showed that farmers’ landholdings are fragmented, small in size, non-contiguous and interspersed (for detail see from p.3: line 89-101).

Point 3: Line 77 - it is worth writing in which European countries it was.

Response 3: We added the information (see p.3: line 127-128) that a high amount of farmland has been consolidated in Eastern, Western and Central European countries. As in Europe, the number of specific countries is very high, we abstained from listing them namely.  

Point 4: Line 62, 184, 297,  - I think that every table should be reference in the text

Response 4: You are right. We referenced now all tables in the text.

Point 5: Line 125-127 - I suggest that you should describe the purpose of the research more widely.

Response 5: We added (see from p.5: line 203-210) to clarify the main aim of the study and the specific objectives of our investigations. At the end of the introduction part, we also summarized the method for getting the findings of our study; such as, this study aims to estimate the willingness of farmers for land consolidation in general and in particular, to address the factors, which are influencing the willingness of landholder farmers to participate in voluntary land consolidation processes. The investigation were based on interviews with in total 343 landholder farmers in the Gozamin District, Ethiopia. In addition, information was gathered in focus group discussion and community consultations.

Point 6: Line 368 - authors wrote "table 3" but I think it should be "table 5"

Response 6: ’We corrected the numbering of the table. (see p.12: line 452)

 

 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

Thank you for letting me review this paper which concerns important and interesting issues of land consolidation in Ethiopia. I have some comments and suggests for revision which are presented below:

1 Introduction

why no one else is using the smaller stripes of land that the farmers are neglecting? For example, a neighbouring farmer? fragmentation has been discussed quite widely, and the possibilities to improve agricultural profitability. These articles should be referred to as well. interesting issue is that while land consolidation is a feasible tool to tackle land fragmentation, institutional arrangements should be considered as well. Otherwise, when rearranged, the land parcels start to fragmentate again. it seems that the introduction and previous experiences on land consolidations are just crabbed something from here and there; the systematic review is missing. I suggest that the authors should concentrate on a chosen approach and evaluate similar literature, for example voluntary land consolidation or land consolidation objectives. For example right now, they write something about Slovenia (missing ecological aspects – which is obviously true in many other countries as well, whose land policies support land consolidation to make agriculture more profitable rather than preserving ecological values). The objectives vary from country to country, and to state that Slovenia found that ecological aspects are missing might be true, but gives the reader an image that all the other countries consider ecological aspects as well. I would like to read some evidence, how the fragmentation is actually hindering agricultural development. For example, what is the average parcel size, what is considered (internationally or nationally) the minimum parcel size to gain profit from farming, etc. the aim of this article is stated in the beginning, but I would like to read more justification on what is the value of this study to the international scientific community. Right now we just learn about the determinants on this certain area, but how scalable are the results?

2 methods

the authors focus largely on describing the methodology, but the basic info on land consolidation, voluntary land consolidations, need for land consolidations etc. are missing here. I think that information would be very necessary for the reader to understand the Ethiopian situation, and to draw conclusions considering other countries.

3 Results

I do appreciate the statistical approach to the issue, but am not sure about the relevance of the results. If I interpret the results correctly, the most significant result is that farmer who wants to exchange land with their neighbor, is also willing to participate in voluntary land consolidation. In other words, farmer who is willing to change their parcels, is willing to change their parcels?

4 Discussion

as said, I may have understood something wrong here. To me, the discussion part is more or less empty. The idea behind this paper is good and I think the authors could use the results in a much more interesting way, really digging deeper into the issue. it is still unclear to me, whether there are official means for other types of land consolidations than the voluntary ones?

5 Conclusion

for some of the suggestions authors are giving, I cannot see how they derived from the results. If the case is that there is no ongoing land consolidation activities in Ethiopia, I think the best would be to launch a pilot project. With the results of this project, it is easy to show the (agricultural) benefits to land owners. I think you could find plenty of literature in launching new types of LC projects, or even start a LC program in a country. To go back to the beginning: this study aims to analyse the determinants influencing the willingness of landholder farmers to participate in voluntary land consolidation. That has been done, but somehow the focus was lost at some point, and the authors discuss about basically all the issues which are connected with land consolidations. Agricultural profitability can be proved by measuring the time farmers need to spend on their cultivations, and also the time they use for travelling to the cultivated areas (distances). You can find plenty of literature about the agricultural profitability on land consolidations, which I think is now missing from the list of literature.

Having said these, I hope the authors are willing to revise the manuscript, and I would be willing to review it again.

Author Response

Response to Reviewer 2 Comments:

 

Dear Reviewer:

 

Thank you for your comments, which are contributing to improve our manuscript. We tried to incorporate your proposals as far as possible to the article.

Point 1: Introduction

why no one else is using the smaller stripes of land that the farmers are neglecting? For example, a neighbouring farmer? fragmentation has been discussed quite widely, and the possibilities to improve agricultural profitability. These articles should be referred to as well. interesting issue is that while land consolidation is a feasible tool to tackle land fragmentation, institutional arrangements should be considered as well. Otherwise, when rearranged, the land parcels start to fragmentate again. it seems that the introduction and previous experiences on land consolidations are just crabbed something from here and there; the systematic review is missing. I suggest that the authors should concentrate on a chosen approach and evaluate similar literature, for example voluntary land consolidation or land consolidation objectives. For example right now, they write something about Slovenia (missing ecological aspects – which is obviously true in many other countries as well, whose land policies support land consolidation to make agriculture more profitable rather than preserving ecological values). The objectives vary from country to country, and to state that Slovenia found that ecological aspects are missing might be true, but gives the reader an image that all the other countries consider ecological aspects as well. I would like to read some evidence, how the fragmentation is actually hindering agricultural development. For example, what is the average parcel size, what is considered (internationally or nationally) the minimum parcel size to gain profit from farming, etc. the aim of this article is stated in the beginning, but I would like to read more justification on what is the value of this study to the international scientific community. Right now we just learn about the determinants on this certain area, but how scalable are the results?

 

Response 1: Land fragmentation has many aspects. It has an economic, ecological, social, and/or environmental perspective. Land fragmentation can be see positively or negatively – dependent on the perspective and dependent on the actor. To make it more visible for the readers, we added a paragraph to summarize the most important aspects of land fragmentation to the introduction. Such as: land fragmentation can be considered from a cultivation perspective, taking into account agricultural production, like variety of crops, quality of soil and water conditions. In this respect land fragmentation can also be beneficial providing a distribution of plots according to the variety of agricultural site qualities. It also can be seen from a land administration perspective, considering the geometry as well as land rights (for detail see from p.2: line 67-78). In which the various concepts of land fragmentation are described explicitly. In addition, we incorporate literature (see reference number 15; 16; 17 and 18), in which different aspects of land fragmentation and countries’ experiences of the impact of land fragmentation are covered.

 

 

Regarding to positive aspects of land fragmentation to agricultural profitability: We added literatures (see added references in this aspect, Reference: 9; 19; 20 and 21) describing these positive association between land fragmentation and yield (productivity). We revised the manuscript and added advantages of land fragmentation such as; even though policy makers often point out the draw backs of land fragmentation, there is no consensus that fragmentation is strictly a negative phenomenon. Bentley argues that the negatives caused by fragmented land holdings overrated and that the farmers own views often are neglected by policy makers. Positives aspects include variety of soil and growing conditions, reducing risks of total crop failure, micro-climatic variations and multiple ecological zones (see the detail from p.3: line 102-113).

 

 

We agree with you that land consolidation requires also institutional issues as well as considerations about capacity. To meet your comment, we added the recommendations of FAO. See (from p.4: line 139-151)

 

We wrote the introduction part systematically by citing different literatures. There are four types of land consolidation. From these types we focused on voluntary type land consolidation because in Ethiopia the land policy encourages voluntary land consolidation.

 

 Regarding Slovenia, we corrected in this way: In many countries land consolidation did not consider ecological aspects for a established habitats of animals around the villages. See (p.5: line 195-197)

 

According to your proposal, we added some specific literature, see (References: 16; 17 and 18) which gives evidence about land fragmentation as hindered agricultural development. Such as: Land fragmentation have occurred in many countries. Exemplary, we incorporated some of them such as: experiences with quantifying the impact of land fragmentation on agricultural production efficiency reveals that negative association. studies done in Nigeria showed that farmers’ landholdings are fragmented, small in size, non-contiguous and interspersed (for detail see from p.3: line 89-101).Nevertheless, we are not able to specify a minimum parcel size to gain profit, because this is dependent on the site, the climate, the available technical facilities, etc.

 

The focus of the paper is given to the Ethiopian situation, where land fragmentation (small strips of land less than 1 ha (0.78 hectare) spread into an average of 4 parcels. In the results of many studies, this is seen negatively. See studies done in Nigeria (from p.3: line 99-101). Land consolidation is an appropriate tool to improve the situation. Unfortunately, Ethiopia up to now is missing a proper legal framework and a proper institutional setup for land consolidation. As a beginning, we wanted to investigate the willingness of farmers to voluntary land consolidation in general and in particular, we wanted to address factors, which are influencing their willingness.

 

We see the value of the study for the international scientific community in the methodological approach to get knowledge about the willingness as well as in the findings, which factors are the most relevant for farmers’ willingness to participate in land consolidation processes. 

 

Point 2: methods

the authors focus largely on describing the methodology, but the basic info on land consolidation, voluntary land consolidations, need for land consolidations etc. are missing here. I think that information would be very necessary for the reader to understand the Ethiopian situation, and to draw conclusions considering other countries.

 

Response 2: We hope for your understanding, that we did not include basic information about land consolidation, need for land consolidation etc.in this chapter. In the revised manuscript, we addressed these issues in the Introduction.

Point 3: Results

I do appreciate the statistical approach to the issue, but am not sure about the relevance of the results. If I interpret the results correctly, the most significant result is that farmer who wants to exchange land with their neighbor, is also willing to participate in voluntary land consolidation. In other words, farmer who is willing to change their parcels, is willing to change their parcels?

Response 3: The need for exchanging parcels with neighbour is one of 13 factors investigated for willingness of voluntary land consolidation. Seven of them were outlined as being very relevant: Farm home nearness (distance), need for parcel exchange, parcel preference (obtain on separate or altogether), Knowledge of farmers, perception, conflict reduction and trust. The relevance can be seen by the results of the statistical analysis, as these variables have significant at p-value <5%. For detail information see (p.12: line 438).Concerning your comment, that “farmer who wants to exchange land with their neighbour, is also willing to participate in voluntary land consolidation” is the same as “farmer who is willing to change their parcels, is willing to change their parcels”. There is a difference between land change and voluntary land consolidation, as the last one is based on a legal commitment.

Point 4: Discussion

as said, I may have understood something wrong here. To me, the discussion part is more or less empty. The idea behind this paper is good and I think the authors could use the results in a much more interesting way, really digging deeper into the issue. it is still unclear to me, whether there are official means for other types of land consolidations than the voluntary ones?

 

Response 4: According to your comment, we added focus group discussion and community consultation qualitative results to support the regression result (quantitative) for the purpose of triangulation. Details were presented in discussion section. Like some of them: In the focus group discussion, participants told that land exchange has a long tradition and landholder farmers will be motivated to swap the parcel with neighbors by the prospect of better access to irrigable land, facilitation of farm operations and shorter distance to homestead. Having closer distance to main roads and town infrastructure. For details of additions in focus group discussion and community consultations result of the seven most important variables presented in discussion part (see from p.13-14: line 461-552). We mentioned the four approaches of land consolidation and in the Ethiopian case, voluntary land consolidation is important because the Ethiopian land policy encourages voluntary land consolidation. Thus, our study focused on voluntary land consolidation. See (p.4: line 168-173)

Point 5: Conclusion

for some of the suggestions authors are giving, I cannot see how they derived from the results. If the case is that there is no ongoing land consolidation activities in Ethiopia, I think the best would be to launch a pilot project. With the results of this project, it is easy to show the (agricultural) benefits to land owners. I think you could find plenty of literature in launching new types of LC projects, or even start a LC program in a country. To go back to the beginning: this study aims to analyse the determinants influencing the willingness of landholder farmers to participate in voluntary land consolidation. That has been done, but somehow the focus was lost at some point, and the authors discuss about basically all the issues which are connected with land consolidations. Agricultural profitability can be proved by measuring the time farmers need to spend on their cultivations, and also the time they use for travelling to the cultivated areas (distances). You can find plenty of literature about the agricultural profitability on land consolidations, which I think is now missing from the list of literature.

Response 5: All the recommendation given by us were derived from the seven important determinant factors of voluntary land consolidation and based on the results and discussions forwarded recommendation to the concerned body. We tried to make it more obvious by adding some comments. See (from p.16-17: line 616-675)

We agree that a pilot project would be the best. We are convinced that our study is a valuable contribution to trigger such a project in Ethiopia, as the authorities will get knowledge that there is a willingness of farmers to participate in a voluntary land consolidation process. We are currently trying to get this done – but for the current study we wish to concentrate on the driving factors affecting the farmer’s willingness to participate in voluntary land consolidation.

We incorporated impact of land consolidation on agricultural profitability. See (from p.4: line 152-164) and also added References and see (Reference Number 22; 29; 33; 34; 35 and 36 for your justification).

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

Thank you for the revisions you made to the manuscript! You met my comments really well, and I think it is now ready to be published.

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