Farmers’ preference for soil and water conservation practices in central highlands of Ethiopia.

  • Z Adimassu
  • B Gorfu
  • D Nigussie
  • J Mowo
  • K Hilemichael
Keywords: Elephant grass, Susbania susban, vetiver grass


Land degradation is a major socio-economic and environmental concern in the Ethiopian highlands where the phenomenon has rendered vast areas of fertile land unproductive. To reverse this trend, the adoption of soil and water conservation (SWC) practices is crucial. However, failure by research and development organisations to take into consideration farmers preference for SWC practices have resulted into low adoption of these technologies. This paper presents the findings of a study that evaluated farmers’ preferences of SWC practices, including the economic perspective; as a basis for enhancing adoption of the technologies in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Four soil and water conservation (SWC) practices; (i) soil bunds alone (SB), (ii) soil bunds with vetiver grass (SB+Vg), (iii) soil bunds with Susbania susban (SB+Ss) (iv) and soil bunds with elephant grass (SB+Eg), were evaluated in the Borodo Watershed in the central highlands of Ethiopia. These are the only SWC measures introduced and implemented in Borodo watershed. Data on these SWC practices were collected from farmers using focus group discussion. A multi-criteria analysis (MCA) approach was used to analyses the data. The criteria were weighted using pair-wise ranking and SWC practices were scored with a scale of 1(not good) to 5 (best) based on each criterion. The overall weighted scores were obtained using the Simple Additive Weighting Model. Farmers assigned highest relative weights to criteria related to economic criteria (0.58) than technical (0.29) and stability criteria (0.13). Based on the overall weighted scores obtained using MCA approach, farmers prefer different SWC practices in an order of SB+Eg> SB+Ss> SB+Vg> SB. In general, this paper argues that farmers’ economic concerns should be accounted for or more seriously taken into account by research and development institutions. Therefore, there is a need to develop SWC practices which are technically effective and economically efficient.

Key Words: Elephant grass, Susbania susban, vetiver grass


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2072-6589
print ISSN: 1021-9730