Factors influencing the adoption of physical soil and water conservation practices in the Ethiopian highlands

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Abstract

Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) structures have been constructed on cultivated land for nearly 40 years to reduce soil loss and improve crop yields and people's livelihoods in the Ethiopian highlands. However, the success of this huge effort has been mixed, and the main constraints have not been investigated in detail. This study was undertaken to identify the factors determining the adoption of SWC structures in the Ethiopian Highlands. Case study areas were selected from high-potential and low-potential areas. Data were collected from 269 farmers using face-to-face interviews, and through focus group discussions, key informant interviews and field observations. Binary logistic regression model and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The result showed that the majority (87%) of the farmers interviewed were using SWC structures. Regionally, nearly all farmers in the low-potential areas and 56% of farmers in the high-potential areas constructed and were maintaining the structures properly. This disparity is due to the fact that in the low-potential areas there have been strong governmental involvement and technical and financial support, and hence the farmers there have a better understanding of the multiple uses of physical SWC structures than do farmers in the high-potential areas. In addition, off-farm activities and free grazing plays a substantial role. We can conclude that clear understanding of the benefits of SWC structures by farmers, active involvement and technical support from the government, and genuine participation of farmers in SWC practices were found to be main factors in the adoption of SWC measures.

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Mekuriaw, A., Heinimann, A., Zeleke, G., & Hurni, H. (2018). Factors influencing the adoption of physical soil and water conservation practices in the Ethiopian highlands. International Soil and Water Conservation Research, 6(1), 23–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iswcr.2017.12.006

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