This paper reports an investigation of possible disincentive effects associated with food for work in a locality in North Omo, Ethiopia. The focus is on disincentives to agricultural innovation. Three options to test a disincentive hypothesis are presented, two being rejected as inappropriate to the locality (due to pervasiveness of food for work and constraints on modelling techniques). Therefore a rapid attitude survey was undertaken in just over 24 hours. The methods described include design of a questionnaire after consultation with various parties, administering the questionnaire and computer analysis. The results indicate limited agricultural resources, but high awareness of innovations and willingness to innovate. Removal of food for work would lead some farmers to seek cash employment, but to less trading, intercropping and row planting. This suggests food for work enhances innovation rather than provides a disincentive, or possibly had no effect.
This paper may be of interest to those involved in agricultural extension, agricultural research, and food for work programmes.