Assessment of criteria and farming activities for tobacco diversification using the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) technique

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Continuous monocropping of tobacco, excessive tillage and inadequate irrigation management have caused soil degradation in tobacco farms in the Valle de Lerma. Soil degradation due to tobacco monocropping and uncertain economic perspectives for tobacco farming call for diversification strategies for tobacco farmers. The objective of this paper is to develop useful criteria for assessing diversification activities and to provide a ranking of different diversification activities on these criteria. The Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) technique is applied to get consistent assessments of criteria and activities from experts and stakeholders. Next, goal programming methods are used to aggregate individual assessments in order to arrive at the final ranking of farming activities for diversification. The five criteria to judge production activities for tobacco diversification are contribution to income, suitability for biophysical conditions, availability of technical information, market feasibility and contribution to soil improvement. The feasibility to market the products stands out with clearly high relative weight, while the other criteria received similar weights. The obtained weights of farming activities showed that especially livestock activities and spring–summer crops are important alternatives for tobacco production. Livestock activities stand out because they have high scores on all criteria. Livestock activities and spring–summer crops will compete with tobacco for resources because tobacco is a spring–summer crop. Therefore, these activities may be more suitable for tobacco farms that operate large area of land. The results of this research can be used in optimization models for determining the optimal mix of farming activities in combination with tobacco production. Such models can provide further insights into factors determining diversification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
JournalAgricultural Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • developing-countries
  • decision-making
  • agriculture
  • adoption
  • soil
  • determinants
  • systems
  • models

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