, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 557-567
Date: 21 Oct 2012

Rainfall variability and food crop portfolio choice: evidence from Ethiopia

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This paper concerns the patterns of food crop choice in a multicropping setting, in which production risk considerations and rainfall uncertainty are likely to be critical factors. The analysis employed plot level panel data from Ethiopia, combined with 30 year meteorological data corresponding to the survey villages used to construct seasonal and yearly rainfall variability. Using the single index approach, the riskiness of crop portfolio was constructed at a household level, taking into account the multicropping nature of the farming system. The combined riskiness of crops grown at a household level responded negatively to annual rainfall variability, with seasonal rainfall variability having a less consistent impact. Farmers are, therefore, more likely to select less risky crop portfolios even when intercrop interactions are taken into account.

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and Richard Strange for comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.