The major agricultural inputs used in the area and considered in this study include chemical fertilizer, improved seeds, pesticides and irrigation technologies, which constitute major elements of packages implemented during the previous Green Revolution. About 73% of the sample farmers used fertilizer during the previous production year. Fertilizer application was sub-optimal especially during the 2008 season due to soaring fertilizer prices. About 71% and 68% of the sample farmers used improved seeds and pesticides, respectively. Only 10% of the improved seeds used in the area were supplied through the extension system (new delivery) while the largest proportion of farmers exchanged the seeds of improved seeds reproduced on farm. Since the improved varieties were introduced several years ago, the vigor of some of the seeds has been lost though the farmers still call the variety improved. The application of some of these technologies especially pesticides is made without adequate skill, resulting in poisoning of people and livestock.
The use of improved agricultural technologies has had both positive and negative impacts.
The positive impacts are related to economic and social improvements: increased yield of crops, increased production and income of the beneficiary households, diversification of production, change in food habits particularly of irrigation adopters, improved health, increased asset building and better living conditions. Moreover, the use of improved agricultural inputs enhanced the market integration and induced a high demand for farm activities. Smallholder farms and cut flower companies provide casual work opportunities for labour migrants from Amhara, SNNPR and northern parts of Oromia. The social impacts of improved inputs include increased participation of women in economic activities and decision making, empowerment of women in terms of income utilization, information and knowledge exchange, and enhanced savings.
Negative impacts are related to the impacts of pesticides on human and livestock health due to misuse and abuse. Other impacts are declining diversity of landraces of crops, declining traditional soil fertility management practices due to reliance on fertilizers and pesticides, and increased inequality in wealth of users and non-users.
The general conclusion in this report is that there are some necessry pre-requisites for a Green Revolution in Africa in general and in Ethiopia in particular, more specifically; institutional capacity building on agricultural technology generation, dissemination and usage and technical support to the farmers (commercial as well as subsistence), establishing efficient input supply systems, regulatory frameworks, market linkages, accountability for environmental damages, and appropriate targeting of agro-ecology with distinct packages of agricultural technologies.