Rural finance and agricultural technology adoption in Ethiopia
Financial cooperatives and microfinance institutions (MFIs) are the two major sources of rural finance in Ethiopia. Whereas MFIs are relatively new, financial cooperatives have existed for centuries in various forms. The coexistence of two different institutions serving the same group of people, and delivering the same financial services, raises several policy questions. Those questions have become particularly relevant, as the government has embarked on developing a new strategy for improving rural financial services delivery. This study (PDF) by IFPRI serves as an input to that policy discussion. Using a unique household survey dataset and the propensity-score-matching technique, the impacts of the two financial service providers on agricultural technology adoption is examined. The results suggest that access to institutional finance has significant positive impacts on both the adoption and extent of technology use. However, when impacts are disaggregated by type of financial institution and farm size, considerable heterogeneities are observed. In particular, financial cooperatives have a greater impact on technology adoption than do MFIs, and the impacts appear to vary depending on farm size and types of inputs. The underlying implications of these results are discussed in light of the country’s rural finance policies and programs.