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Dagnew D.C.,Bahir Dar University | Guzman C.D.,Cornell University | Zegeye A.D.,Cornell University | Tibebu T.Y.,Cornell University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics | Year: 2015

In response to the continually increasing sediment concentrations in rivers and lakes, the Ethiopian government is leading an effort where farmers are installing soil and water conservation measures to increase infiltration and reduce erosion. Thisaper reports on findings from a four year study in the 95 ha Debre Mawi watershed where under the government led conservation works, mainly terraces with infiltration furrows were installed halfway in theeriod of observation. The results show that runoff volume decreased significantly after installation of the soil and water conservationractices but sediment concentration decreased only marginally. Sediment loads were reduced mainly because of the reduced runoff. Infiltration furrows were effective on the hillsides where rain water could infiltrate, but on the flat bottom lands that become saturated with therogress of the monsoon rain, infiltration was restricted and conservationractices became conduits for carrying excess rainfall. This caused the initiation of gullies in several occasions in the saturated bottomlands. Sediment concentration at the outlet barely decreased due to entrainment of loose soil from unstable banks of gullies in theeriodically saturated bottom areas. Since most uphill drainage were already half filled up with sediments after two years, long term benefits of reducing runoff can only be sustained with continuous maintenance of uphill infiltration furrows.

Kolech S.A.,Cornell University | Kolech S.A.,Amhara Agricultural Research Institute ARARI | Halseth D.,Cornell University | De Jong W.,Cornell University | And 4 more authors.
American Journal of Potato Research | Year: 2015

Understanding what farmers need in potato varieties and assessing available genetic resources at the farmer and district levels is important for the conservation and improvement of potato in Ethiopia. A survey was conducted in six major potato growing districts representing different agro-ecologies, cropping systems, market outlets, and levels of new variety adoption. Seventy to ninety percent of the farmers surveyed reported growing two or more potato varieties; some farmers reported growing up to five. The greatest diversity at the district level (up to 10 potato varieties) was recorded at Gumer & Geta where there is better access to new varieties while the lowest diversity was reported in districts with low access to new cultivars. The distribution of varieties differed among agro-ecologies as did the traits that farmers were most concerned with, such as drought tolerance, late blight resistance, yield potential, marketability, food value, storage quality, adaptation to low soil fertility, time to maturity and suitability for multiple harvesting. Farmers’ decision-making processes and external factors that influence potato variety diversity were also documented. The registration of predominant local varieties and use of these local varieties as a starting point for the development of improved varieties are some of the recommendations for future potato breeding in Ethiopia. Moreover, it is necessary to consider variations in agro-ecologies, cropping systems and market outlets in the process of developing varieties suitable for farmers’ and consumers’ real needs. © 2015, The Author(s).

Kolech S.A.,Cornell University | Kolech S.A.,Amhara Agricultural Research Institute ARARI | Halseth D.,Cornell University | Perry K.,Cornell University | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Potato Research | Year: 2015

A substantial number of farmers in northwest Ethiopia grow potato in the dry season (“Belmehr”, March to August) when rainfall is not dependable for the growth of the crop, resulting in lower yield. Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institutes have tried to change the situation by releasing new late blight tolerant varieties that potentially could allow for production of the crop in the rainy season (“Meher”, May to October). Despite these efforts, the majority of the farmers still grow potato in the Belmehr season using older, local varieties. Cognizant of this fact, this study aimed to characterize the major potato production problems in the two seasons, to identify the traits that farmers consider most important when selecting potato varieties, and to assess the performance of widely grown local as well as newly developed varieties. The study was conducted at sites representing two major agroecological zones in northwest Ethiopia and during both production seasons using 12 varieties (9 local and 3 new) with a ‘participatory variety selection’ approach. During the Belmehr season, erratic rainfall resulted in low yield and lower average tuber weight. By contrast, in the Meher season, late blight, desiccating wind and severe precipitation, including hail, limited production. These factors were important in both agroecological zones, with varying degrees of importance. Twenty-three traits were found to influence the varieties that farmers selected, with the degree of importance of each trait differing between agroecological zones and gender groups. Some local varieties yielded as well as new varieties in both seasons. Overall, we found participatory variety selection to be an effective approach for identifying factors important for the adoption of potato varieties, including factors that may not be addressed in conventional potato breeding programs. © 2015, The Author(s).

Amare D.,Agricultural Mechanization and Food Science Research Center | Mekuria W.,International Water Management Institute IWMI | T/wold T.,Amhara Agricultural Research Institute ARARI | Belay B.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Forests Trees and Livelihoods | Year: 2016

In the Ethiopian highlands, church forests have a substantial contribution to landscape restoration, and conservation of endangered indigenous tree species and biodiversity. However, the environmental and economic benefits of church forests are declining due to a combination of economic, environmental, and cultural factors. This study was conducted in Dera district, Ethiopia, to assess the perception of local communities on church forests and investigate the willingness of local communities to pay to manage and protect church forests. We used household survey and focus group discussion to gather data. Contingent valuation method and the Heckman two-step economic model were used to analyze data. Considerable proportion of the respondents (35%) mentioned several types of benefits that can be derived from church forests including fodder, fuelwood, tree seeds and seedlings, conservation of biodiversity, and improvement of the amount and distribution of rainfall. Respondents are also aware that sustainable management of church forests is essential to maintain or enhance the ecosystem services that can be obtained from existing church forests. Protection, fencing, plantation, and expansion of church forests were among the different management options suggested by the respondents. The majority (70%) of the communities are willing to contribute cash. On average, the farmers are willing to contribute ETB 32 (i.e., US$ 1.66 [Based on the exchange rate on 12 February 2014.]). Age, education, access to extension services, and amount of benefits derived from church forests were positively and significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with the willingness to pay. Providing training on forest management, putting a strong informal institution such as bylaws, and designing ways of moving from conservation to economic benefit are essential to restore and sustain church forests. © 2016 Taylor & Francis

Abiyu A.,Amhara Agricultural Research Institute ARARI | Teketay D.,Botswana College of Agriculture | Gratzer G.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Shete M.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology
Small-scale Forestry | Year: 2015

Tree growing by smallholder farmers is an emerging livelihood strategy in Lake Tana catchment. The objectives of this study were to (1) identify the most important tree species grown, (2) investigate the drivers of the existing pattern, and (3) identify determinants of the number and diversity of tree species and their spatial patterns. Survey data were collected from 200 households. Multiple linear regression was employed to identify the determinants of tree growing behaviour of households and spatial variables affecting the abundance of tree species. Eucalyptus globulus, Acacia decurrens and E. camaldulensis dominate woodlots. Only a fraction of the forest production is used by the households, the rest being sold as poles or charcoal. Location in relation to market centres, number of livestock owned, landholding size and age of household head were found to positively affected the number of tree species and trees grown. Gender affected the species and spatial pattern of trees. Woodlots, farm boundaries and homesteads were found to be important tree growing niches. These results substantiate the proposition that farmers assign their parcels of land to uses that increase the rent value of the land, and this value is affected by access to roads. Woodlots are on the increase at the cost of productive agricultural land. Provision of a tree planting extension service may increase participation of farmers in tree planting, and a management-oriented tree planting extension service may give desirable results. © 2015 Steve Harrison, John Herbohn

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