African Journal of Water Conservation and Sustainability

African Journal of Water Conservation and Sustainability ISSN: 2375-0936 Vol. 5 (5), pp. 227-234, May, 2017. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Assessment of farmers’ practices on soil erosion control and soil fertility improvement in rift valley areas of east Shoa and west Arsi zones of Oromia, Ethiopia

1Tesfaye Gemechu and 2Kasahun Kitila*

1Agricultural Extension researcher at Adami Tulu Agricultural research center, Ziway, Ethiopia, 2Soil and water conservation researcher at ATARC.

*Corresponding author Email:  kasukiya@yahoo.com. Tel: +251912855363

Accepted 13 July, 2014

Abstract

Farmers’ perception and indigenous knowledge to conserve natural resources in general and soil and water conservation in particular have received little emphasis in Ethiopia. This study aimed to understand farmers’ perception on prevalence of soil erosion and their indigenous mechanism in soil erosion control and soil fertility management. The study was conducted in March, 2011 in purposively selected districts of East Showa Zone (Adama and Lume districts) and West Arsi zones (Shashemene and Kofele) of Oromia, Ethiopia. Data was collected using household interviews where a total of 160 farmers were randomly selected and interviewed. It was identified that the land allocated for the agricultural land and forest land showed an increasing trends since five years back in all study districts while the land allocated for grazing was decreasing. This was due to conversion of grazing land and other marginal lands into cropland to satisfy an increased food demand. Water and wind erosions are the two major types of soil erosion identified in this particular study. Heavy and erratic rain fall, topography and deforestation are the major causes of soil erosion in all study area. To tackle the soil erosion problem, farmers are using different physical structures such as soil bund, cutoff drains and micro basins. In addition, crop rotation, compost, animal manure and intercropping are also the major biological soil and water conservation activities practiced by the farmers. In their decisions for fertilization or production farmers use yield response, soil color, vegetation cover, soil type and topography as soil fertility indicators. Chemical fertilizers, though perceived expensive, are still the dominant strategy used by farmers to increase production. In addition, farmers’ perception and training on use of other alternative organic fertilizer is very low in all study areas.

Keywords: Farmers’ practice, soil erosion, soil and water conservation.