Determinants of farmland degradation and its implication on crop productivity and sustainability
The study analyzed factors influencing smallholder farmland degradation and crop productivity in western Ethiopia. It was done based on survey of 120 households managing a total of 223 farm plots. The survey data was analyzed using ordered probit model. We found that out of 15 explanatory variables investigated, slope of the farm plot, plot distance from homestead, interval of crop rotation, frequency of growing cereal crops, and change in farm plot ownership were found to positively and significantly affect farmland degradation whereas other factors such as household responsibility in the society, livestock holding size, and soil and water conservation practices were found to negatively and significantly influence farmland degradation. The marginal effect of the slope and length of crop rotation interval on probability of the farmland to be classified as degraded land was found to be increased by 7 and 29%, respectively. The regression results show that crop productivity was significantly hampered by improved seeds used, plot size and farmland degradation. Therefore, if the investigated factors get policy merit, it is possible to minimize farmland degradation and enhance agricultural sustainability.
Keywords: Farm plot; land management; land degradation; crop productivity; sustainability