Smallholder Milk Market Participation and Intra-household Time Allocation in Ethiopia


We study the effects of smallholder market participation on intra-household time allocation in Ethiopia. We followed 156 households for 2 consecutive days and recorded the time allocated to dairying, domestic chores, schooling, wage work and leisure. Propensity score matching was used to determine the average effect of household market participation on intra-household time allocation. Results show that market participant households spend significantly more time on dairying and non-dairying activities than non-participant households. There are also substantial gender differences in intra-household time allocation. Although men take up only a small part of the dairy activities, milk income shifts from women to men in participant households. Given that in participant households women spent substantially more time on domestic and dairying activities, it is important that time-saving technologies are introduced to reduce their workload in the household. Women’s participation in the formal milk market should also be strengthened to ensure their access to the milk income.


Nous étudions les effets de la participation des petits exploitants aux marchés sur l’allocation du temps au sein des ménages en Ethiopie. Nous avons suivi 156 ménages pendant deux jours consécutifs et avons enregistré le temps alloué à la production laitière, les tâches ménagères, la scolarité, le travail salarié, et les loisirs. Le score de propension a été utilisé pour déterminer l’effet moyen de la participation des ménages aux marchés sur leur répartition du temps. Les résultats montrent que les ménages qui participent aux marchés passent beaucoup plus de temps sur les activités laitières et non laitières que les ménages qui n’y participent pas. Il y a aussi des différences importantes entre les sexes dans la répartition du temps au sein des ménages. Bien que les hommes ne jouent un rôle que minime dans la production laitière, les revenus de la vente de lait passent des femmes aux hommes dans les ménages participants. Étant donné que dans les ménages participants, les femmes passent beaucoup plus de temps sur les activités domestiques et sur la production laitière, il est important que les technologies permettant de gagner du temps soient introduites pour réduire leur charge de travail au sein du ménage. La participation des femmes dans le marché formel du lait devrait également être renforcée pour assurer leur accès aux revenus de la production laitière.

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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this study from the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (Nuffic) and the International Foundation for Science (IFS). We also gratefully thank participants of this research (individuals and organizations) for their time and invaluable informations

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Correspondence to Birhanu Megersa Lenjiso.

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Lenjiso, B., Smits, J. & Ruben, R. Smallholder Milk Market Participation and Intra-household Time Allocation in Ethiopia. Eur J Dev Res 28, 808–825 (2016).

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  • Ethiopia
  • intra-household
  • milk market
  • smallholder
  • time allocation