A Study on Agricultural Production, Environmental Degradation and Carrying . Capacity in Debay Tilatgin Wereda, East Gojjam.

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Addis Ababa University


The general objective of this study has been to investigate the relationship between the population ands resource base of De bay Ti latgin Wereda, East Gojjam. Specifically, this study was concerned with the assessment of food production, resource degradation and examination of peasant's perception towards their environment. The data for the study was obtained from the survey of 250 sampled households through questionnaire, group discussions, field observation and consultation of various documents and personal communication with concerned officials both at the Wereda and PA levels. The methods of data analysis applied in this study are both descriptive and inferential statistics. Linear Regression Model has been applied to identify the major factors affecting yield of crops in the study area. Population Support Capacity (PSC) Model, in tum, has been used to assess the carrying capacity of the study area. The results are interpreted and presented in the form of tables. Although the area is in high potential cereal zone, the analysis of the available data has paradoxically revealed that poor natural resource base as compared to the requirement of the present human and livestock popUlation characterize the study area. The current agri cultural density in the study area is about 3 persons per hectare. On the bases of household survey, the average cultivated land per fanning household is about l.5 ha (with an average household size of 6.4). The holding is fragmented indicating an average of four parcels for each household. The fact that farming tools and production techniques are traditional best manifests the rudimentariness of falming technology in the study area. The application of fann inputs is very low with an average oxen possession of l.8 per household . Fertilizer application too is very low and is limited to the lower Dega. All these aspects taken together accounts for the low yield per unit area, which characterizes the study area. This is best illustrated by average production per household, which is about 12 quintals of all crops with an average yield of7.9 qtlha.The anal ys is of variation of yield usmg Coefficient of Variation (C.V) index has indicated that variation of yield between di fferent crops is not high in the study area. The dominantly grown crops are wheat, barley, tef[ and pulses respectively. The analysis of Crop Concentration Index (CCI) and Relative Average Yield Index (RA YI) have indicated that peasants in the study area are not effici ent in their land use decision. The regression analysis, on the other hand, has indicated that the major factors affecting yield are oxen possession, size of cultivated land, labor input, so il eros ion, and stock density. All of them taken together have explaining about 79% of the variations in yield in the study area. The PSC assessment has shown that the current level of agricultural technology, available arable land and forage resources are enough only for 78% and 49% of human and livestock population respectively. A surplus (about 20.3%) is observed in cropland requirement when allowing an anticipated 50% increment. The carrying Capacity of forage resources is at critical stage both at the present level of farming technology and at an anticipated 50% increment in yield. In general, there is an overall resource deficit in the study area indicating population pressure. The effects of population pressure is manifested in the expansIOn of cultivation to ecologically fragi le areas, deforestation, overgrazing and accelerated soil erosion resulting in subsequent decline of yield per unit area. The response of peasants for declining production and ever worsening resource degradation is not encouraging. The problem lies somewhere else and is related to policy issues such as security problems.



Environmental Degradation