Population Pressure, Land Use Change and Patterns of Agricultural Productivity in Ezana Wollene and Cheha 'Weredas' Sabat Bet Gurageland

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Addis Ababa University


The major objective of the study is to assess the agricultural resources, patterns of rural land use and land covers and their changes, farming system (with particular reference to enset,its economic uses and production problems) in conjuction with some socio-economic and physical factors which are likely to affect agricultural productivity and to identify the facto rs to which land and labour productivity are most responsive. Emphasis is, however , given to the im pact of population pressure on the land use, the farming system and the agricultural productivity in the study area. Data needed in the study were acquired from field survey using qustionnaires and interviews, field measurements (with the help of aerial photographs and base maps) and some raw data from government offices and other sources. Central tendency measu res (mean and meadian) , percentages, standard deviations, coefficient of variations,student-t test, analysis of variance (ANOY A) , crop combination indices, crop concentration measu res, simple and multiple correlations, stepwise multiple regression techniques were used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that the mean annual precipitation and hence the basin yield (surface run-off) tend to decrease; the drop in the latter being more faster than that of the former. This may be attributable to changes in climate, land usel land cover, soil resource depletions, etc. Population pressure in the region is one of the highest in the country as it varies from 50 to 728 persons per square kilometer at PA level. One result of the conseqences of the high population pressure in the region has been large a volume of seasonal rural- out migration which in the region was recorded as 12.1 % in 1992/93.The second major response has been land uselland cover change in the last 21 /36 years .Woodland (mainly eucalyptus tree lots) ,cultivated area, and the growth of settlements, atthe expense of grazing area, recorded an expansion of 196%,26%, and 5%, respectively. Farm size was generally found to be small (68 % of the respondents reported to possess less than a hectare).Family labour is the basis of all farm operations and it was found to be 3 (weighted average) per house hold. Only 19% of the responden ts reported to use oxen to prepare land. Manuring is extensively used to replenish soil fertility. Enset is widely cultivated and accounts for 61 % of the cultivated land and it is followed by chat(l5%), barley(ll %) and coffee(5 .1 %). Enset is grown not only for food but also has many other economic values .It has a calorie yield of about nine million cal. per hectare which is about 217 % of most of the cereals, and is expected to support about nine persons per hectare while most cereals may support about 4.5 persons per hectare of land. There is a significant variation in the patterns of land and labour productivity at zonal, PA and individual farm levels. The regression analysis revealed that eight \ariables (out of thirteen) emerged as significant predictors which together explained about 25.5% of the variance in land productivity, of which about 70% was accounted for by agricultaral labour force, rural literacy , manure input, land value, and distance between homsteads and farm plots. In case of labour producti vity, only five variables (manure input, stocking density, agricultural labour force and land value) appeared as significant predictors which together explained,about 17 % of the variance.It is worth mentioning that the thirteen variables taken into consideration have contributed only 25.5 % and 17% to the variances of land and labour productivities respectively, which leave 74.5% and 83% of the variance to be explained by the variables which have not been considered in the study. Therefore further research to identify the more significant variables from amongst those which have not been considered is advisable. On the basis of the findings sofar noted thee foil wing recomendations have been made. These are the need to restructure the farming system,in general, and that of enset in particular; to optimally plan the land use in such a way that the demand for various uses would be balanced on priority basis ; to improve traditional and archaic tools used 10 cultivation and processing of enset; to set up at least one enset research station in the Gurage area; to integrate agriculture with other income generating occupational activities; to improve infrastructural facilities;to attract capital investment into the area to develop agroindustries, irrigation schemes, and small and medium size modem ranching; and strictly observe the 1993 National Population Policy (family planning aspect in particular) so as to real ize balance between population and resources of the area.



PopulaTion Pressure