Alternative Technologies for Sustainable Agricultural Production and Agroecosystem Conservation in Arsi Highlands, Southeastern Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Alternative technologies for sustainable agricultural production and ecosystem conservation study were conducted in Arsi Zone, Oromia Region. A total of 180 sample households were selected from 12 kebeles (smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia) of four weredas (districts). The households were stratified into rich, medium and poor wealth groups based on local criteria. Biophysical and socioeconomic data were collected using semi-structured interviews, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and interviews of key informants. Data on socioeconomics, agricultural crops and tree and shrub species were organized and analysed using computer software: SPSS, EXCEL and PAST. The diversity and composition of crop, tree and shrub species and agricultural crop production were characterized and the factors that affect their dynamics were identified. A total of 44 agricultural crop species were recorded of which Triticum aestivum, Hordeum vulgare, Eragrostis tef and Zea mays were the most common crops. In addition, a total of 90 tree and shrub species were recorded, among which, Juniperus procera, Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata, Podocarpus falcatus, Acacia tortilis, Acacia etbaica and Hagenia abyssinica were the main indigneous and multipurpose tree species. Eucalyptus globulus occurred in most of the farms (63%) and was the most important exotic tree species with highest relative values as fuelwood (35.6), construction (37.8), windbreak (22.2), income generation (30.0) and conservation (13.3). There were differences in averge annual incomes of the households among the rich (Birr 13,712), medium (Birr 9,148) and poor (Birr 5967) wealth groups. The main factors which were identified to create differences among the wealth groups were: landholding, family size, livestock resources, agricultural crop and tree and shrub species diversity and income sources in all weredas. The rich had more average landholding, number of livestock and use mix of x organic and inorganic fertilizers than the medium wealth group households and the medium wealth group had more average landholding, number of livestock and use mix of organic and inorganic fertilizers than the poor households. Thus, the uses of diversified and low agricultural inputs technologies have effect on the improvements of the livelihoods of the local communities. To ensure sustainable agricultural production and agroecosystem conservation, it is concluded that the country‘s educational, research and extension systems have much work ahead to support extension workers, farmers and policy makers in order to adequately deal with complex local farming systems that have co-evolved with human societies to fit local ecological conditions and satisfy human needs. Key words: Agroecological approach, biodiversity, diversification, ecosystem



Agroecological approach, biodiversity, diversification, ecosystem