Farmers’ perception of the effects of soil and water conservation structures on crop production: The case of Bokole watershed, Southern Ethiopia
Level soil bunds (LSB) and stone bunds (SB) have been widely implemented in Bokole watershed with World Food Programme (WFP) support since 2000-2001. However, the performance of structures against the target has not been studied. This study assessed farmers’ opinion on the effect of soil and water conservation (SWC) structures, particularly level soil bunds and stone bunds, in improving agricultural crop production. A household survey was carried out by stratified random sampling. Twenty-seven percent of the farmers who adopted SWC structure (29 households from the upper watershed and 62 households from the lower watershed) were randomly selected and interviewed. Three group discussions were also conducted. Based on their own indicators, a high proportion of those interviewed (79.3% in the upper and 87.1% in the lower watershed) had a positive opinion about LSB and SB on their cropland, in relation to its role in improving soil fertility and crop production. Ninety-three percent of interviewed farmers in both the upper watershed and the lower watershed perceived a change in crop yield within two years after implementation of structures. There is a need for awareness creation and for monitoring the correct management of existing soil and water conservation structures, to ensure that they function as intended, and to improve their efficiency. This can reduce the problem of a ‘decrease’ or ‘fluctuation’ in crop yield.
Key words: Crop yield, non-terraced, soil bunds, stone bund, water erosion.