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Title: Seasonal employment and technological change on smallholdings in Chilalo, Ethiopia
Author: Gill, G. J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 4937
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 1977
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Farm mechanisation in Chilalo has in the past caused severe labour displacement, but the 1975 land reform has altered the institutional basis of farming and provides an opportune moment for the evaluation of mechanisation policy. The present study uses, inter alia, data from interviews with Chilalo smallholders in order to arrive at an understanding of any problems arising from seasonality in employment, since this is an essential prerequisite for relevant policy formulation. Examination of the availability of oxen and family labour in relation to the requirements imposed by typical crop mixes shows that during even a single cropping season periods of excess labour and/or oxen availability alternate with periods of sometimes acute shortage. Traditional methods do exist for easing 'bottleneck' periods but the introduction of fertilizer and improved seed has upset such arrangements. In some cases, particularly during harvest, post-harvest operations and weeding, requirements have increased quite sharply. Smallholders have reacted by increased use of purchased inputs such as labour, herbicides and equipment but the land reform proclamation has introduced new problems by prohibiting the hiring of labour by 'able bodied' farmers. The search for appropriate methods of relieving bottlenecks has thus assumed greater urgency. Evidence from various sources concerning crop yields indicates the magnitude of the losses which can result from both energy shortages and inefficient traditional techniques. Losses are particularly high in harvesting and threshing. An evaluation, conducted in the light of the above findings, of the 'intermediate' technology presently available in Chilalo suggests new areas in which engineering research on improved implements might fruitfully be concentrated. Meanwhile a comparison of costs of available alternative technologies for various farm operations permits the identification of a 'least cost' mix of traditional, 'intermediate' and modern technologies. Finally it is possible to suggest a number of ways in which 'surplus' labour might usefully be employed in the slack season(s).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral