This article examines the major drivers that spurred the post-1991 agrarian transformation policies in Ethiopia. The political economy approach was used as the analytical tool in the course of identifying the incentives that led to embarking on agrarian transformation efforts. Data were elicited from different primary and secondary sources that included review and analysis of government policy documents, multilateral conventions, and pertinent literature; and key informant interviews with experts and practitioners dealing with agricultural development schemes. The study established that the post-1991 Ethiopian Government embarked on agrarian transformation by lending considerable support to smallholder producers as opposed to the military regime’s neglect of the sub-sector by according primacy to large-scale state farms and agricultural cooperatives. Based on the study findings, it can be concluded that the current Ethiopian Government’s support for smallholder farmers is driven not by its quest for bringing about fast economic growth alone but also by the urge to secure smallholders’ support for ensuring political legitimacy and regime survival. Moreover, the study uncovered that Ethiopia’s proactive unleashing of large-scale commercial farms and adoption of the donor-supported Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) at a later stage, is propelled by the need for attaining the aforementioned twin objectives.


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pp. 1-22
Launched on MUSE
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