TEKLU ERKOSSA, GEZAHEGN AYELE
University of Hohenheim, Soil Science and Site Ecology, Germany
Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center (DZARC), Ethiopia
The study was conducted in western Ethiopia in order to identify local soil and water management related knowledge and practices of the farmers in order to utilize the output in further research and development interventions in the area. The awareness about the existence and extent of land degradation and nutrient depletion; and its contributory factors are pre-requisite for farmers to undertake any effort to arrest the problem. Farmers in the study area recognized soil erosion and nutrient depletion, and established cause and effect relationship between factors. The major causes of land degradation and nutrient depletion are soil erosion, intensive Tillage, exhaustion of nutrients by crops and deforestation. Apparently, crop type and crop management were emphasized particularly with respect to soil erosion. Small cereals like tef (Eragrostis tef), which require highly intensive tillage and smooth seedbed are considered detrimental while legumes and oil crops contribute positively to the land quality. On the side of the solution to these over-riding problems, they have various options ranging from simple mechanical or agronomic to integrated; and from a field level to a watershed scale. Some of the indigenous soil and water management practices identified in the area are consistent with similar practices found in different parts of the country, while some are unique to the area. Joro for soil conservation and nutrient management, and ciicata, Kolaasaa and their integration with crop rotation for soil fertility maintenance and weed control are among the unique practices to the area. The practices are widely used in the study areas, and are appreciated by all the farmers. Detail description and rationale of every practice is discussed in this paper.
Keywords: Local practices, soil erosion, nutrient depletion, Ethiopia