Farmers’ Perception on Land Degradation and Adoption of Soil-Water Conservation Measures in Ethiopian Highlands: Review Article

Gadisa Chimdesa Abdeta


This paper is aimed to review farmers’ perception on land degradation and adoption of soil-water conservation measures in Ethiopian highlands. Because of land degradation in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and nutrient depletion has been a serious problem of the area. Besides it has adverse impacts on costs of production and agricultural productivity, environment, food security, poverty, social and political stability. Abandonment and shortage of land, water scarcity, and fuel wood shortage, prevalence of invasive species, recurrent disasters, joblessness, migration, conflicts and poverty are the main consequences of land degradation. Land use change, overgrazing, agricultural mismanagement, inappropriate land use policy and tenure insecurity, limited access to inputs and extension services, poverty and climate change are the main causative factors. Topographic ruggedness, rainfall erosivity, soil erodibility and populous of the highland areas also considered as additional factors of land degradation. Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) has been initiated in Ethiopia since mid-1970’s followed the recurrent droughts and subsequent food shortages. However, SWC practices were unsatisfactory or not successfully adopted. This is due to lack of community participation, top-down and rigid approaches; lower in personal perception and lack of knowledge; and institutional, socio-economic, bio-physical and technological characteristics. Therefore, SWC technologies must be confirmed as economically efficient and technically effective in specific agro-ecological conditions. Motivation of real community participation and equitable benefit sharing, amalgamation of scientific and indigenous knowledge, awareness creation and capacity building, appropriate research development and extensional services, accessible infrastructures and information networks, sharing experiences and scaling up of good practices are highly required. It must be in line with poverty alleviation, creating job opportunities, increasing agricultural productivity and improving food security of the country. Finally, any SWC interventions should be evaluated in terms of their technical effectiveness, environmental soundness, economic viability and social acceptability.

Keywords: Adoption, Ethiopian Highlands, Land Degradation, Perception, Soil and Water Conservation

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