Crop-Livestock Farming Systems Varying with Different Altitudes in Southern Ethiopia

  • N Österle
  • A Angassa
  • A Tadesse
  • A Ebro
  • J Sauerborn
  • AC Treydte


In Sub-Saharan Africa, rangeland is increasingly converted to cropland,  creating diverse crop-livestock practices in different environments. As these practices lead to highly adapted livestock production systems using  resources that vary locally and seasonally, not much is known about their similarities and differences. We assessed different crop-livestock systems through 60 semistructured interviews in lowlands (<1700 m.a.s.l),  mid-altitude ranges (~2000 masl), and highlands (>2400 m.a.s.l) around the Rift Valley, Ethiopia. Average livestock numbers per household were higher in lowlands (43) and highlands (18), where access to communal grazing lands was possible. Cattle dominated at all sites, draught oxen  numbers increased with available cropping land per household. All sites used crop residues as supplemental feed. Dung was used as manure in most households, as fuel is used only in higher regions. Our study showed that crop-livestock practices and livestock numbers can be explained by altitude but also by the availability of private and communally used land. Further practices should include growing fodder legumes, crop rotations, and intercropping, which might support a reduced-tillage system and  reduce numbers of environmentally costly draught oxen.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-3372
print ISSN: 2226-7522