Written Paper

Factors influencing the adoption of soil conservation practices in northwestern Ethiopia  [2003]

Abera Birhanu Demeke(Adet Agricultural Reserarch Center, Adet (Ethiopia)) Institute of Rural Development University of Goettingen (Germany) [Corporate Author]

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Ethiopia is a country where soil degradation is prevalent at a tragic rate. The average annual rate of soil loss in the country is estimated to be 12 tons/hectare/year, and it can be even higher on steep slopes and on places where the vegetation cover is low. The amount of yield reduction as a result of loss of topsoil each year is increasing substantially. This makes the issue of soil conservation not only necessary but also a vital concern if the country wants to achieve sustainable development of its agricultural sector and its economy at large. In the country, efforts towards soil conservation were started since the 1970s and 1980s. Since then a huge amount of money has been invested in an attempt to introduce soil and water conservation measures particularly in the areas where the problem of soil erosion is threatening and food deficit is widespread. The conservation measures were in most cases physical measures and undertaken through campaign using Food-for-Work or Cash-for -Work as an instrument to motivate farmers to putting up the conservation structures both on communal holdings as well as on their own plots. However, the efforts put towards the promotion of the conservation technologies so far seem to have had limited success in achieving sustained use and widespread adoption and hence more or less failed to meet the anticipated objectives. The limited success of those efforts highlights the need to better understand the factors that encourage o
f discourage the adoption and sustainable use of introduced conservation measures. This study was therefore set out to assess the important factors that affect the adoption and continued use of introduced conservation structures in Farta district of northwestern Ethiopia.