96 Seiten, Note: A
LIST OF ACRONYMS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
1.1. Background of the study
1.2. Statement of the problem
1.3. Objective of the study
1.4. Significances of the study
1.5. Scope of the study
1.6. Organization of the paper
2. LITERATURE REARVIEW
2.1. Theoretical Review
2.1.1. Conservation Agriculture
2.1.2. Climate Change
2.1.3. Conservation Agriculture and Climate Change
2.2. Empirical Review
2.2.1. Farmers’ Perceptions of Climate Change
2.2.2. Adaptation of Climate Change
2.2.3. Adoption of Conservation Agriculture
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES
3.1. Description of the Study Area
3.1.2. Demographic Characteristics
3.1.4. Soil Type of the Study Area
3.1.5. Natural Resource Base
3.1.6. Major Crops Grown and Land Cultivated
3.1.7. Environmental Conservation Practices
3.2. Sources of Data and Methods of Data Collection
3.2.1. Type and Sources of Data
3.2.2. Methods of Data Collection
3.3. Sampling Technique and Sample Size
3.3.1. Sampling Technique
3.3.2. Sample Size
3.4. Econometric Model Specification
3.4.1. Farmers’ Perception and Adaptation to Climate Change
3.4.2. Farmers’ Participation in Conservation Agriculture
4. RESULT AND DISCUSSION
4.1. Descriptive Statistics
4.2. Conservation Agriculture as Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change
4.3. Results of the Econometric Model
4.3.1. Farmers’ Perception and Adaptation to Climate Change
4.3.2. Farmers’ Participation in Conservation Agriculture
5. SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
This Thesis manuscript is dedicated to my brother, Dr. Temesgen Tilahun, whose financial encouragements have always been with me and who have played a key role in guiding my life in general and in the successful completion of this work in particular.
The author was born to his father Tilahun Bekabil and his mother Yeshume Amente in 1983 in East Wollega Zone, Haro Limu district Sombo Gadisa peasant association. He attended elementary school in Haro Primary School from 1993 to 2000. Then, he attended his senior secondary school in Limu Senior Secondary School from 2001 to 2002 and his preparatory education in Gida Ayana Senior Secondary School from September 2003 to June 2005.
He then joined Addis Ababa University, in January 2006 and graduated with Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) in Finance and Development Economics in July 2008. Since September 2008, the author served as Non Governmental Organizations Officer of East Wollega Zone Finace and Economic Development Office. He joined the School of Graduate Studies of Wollega University in October 2011 to pursue Master of Science degree (M.Sc.) in Agricultural Economics.
Many thanks and appreciation goes to the following institutions and individuals whom without their help and support, the successful completion of my study would not have been possible. I am very grateful to my major supervisor, Dr. Amsalu Bedemo for his guidance and encouragement to accomplish this work. I also extend my thanks to my co-advisor Mr. Kidus Markos for his constructive comments and encouragement. I would like to appreciate their patience for close follow up of this work from the very beginning to the end. Without their dedication this work would not have been completed on time.
I am greatly indebted to staff of East Wollega Zone Finance and Economic Development Office for their heartfelt help in facilitating favorable working environment and encouragement. I am very grateful to my brother Dr. Temesgen Tilahun for his moral and financial support. I also would like to thank the staff Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Central Cynod Development and Social Service Commission for their support in encouraging me both morally and financially.
I am also thankful to Ato Dugasa Wakwaya, Ato Bekuma Duguma, Ato Daba Hirko, Ato Dereje Fikadu, Ato Iskindir Bulti, Ato Dugasa Senbato, Ato Getacho Tadesa and Ato Efa Tilahun for their support in data collection. I am also highly indebted to Ato Abera Gemechu, Socio-economic Researcher at Debre zeit Agricultural Research Center for his support in supplying me with necessary related journals and articles.
Finally, I am extremely grateful to my father, brothers and sisters for their love and encouragement since my childhood. Lastly but not the least, I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude to my wife, Bilise Abdisa for her love and patience. I thank the almighty God that helped me in my difficult times and gave me strength to accomplish this study.
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Table 3.1 Number of households and sample size
Table 4.1 Summary statistics of continuous variables and their mean difference test used in selection equation for the Heckman two stage selection model
Table 4.2 Summary statistics of dummy and categorical variables used in selection equation for the Heckman two stage selection model
Table 4.3 Summary statistics of continuous variables and their mean difference test used in outcome equation for the Heckman two stage selection model
Table 4.4 Summary statistics of dummy and categorical variables used in outcome equation for the Heckman two stage selection
Table 4.5 Summary statistics of continuous variables and their mean difference test used binary logit model
Table 4.6 Summary statistics of dummy and categorical variables used binary logit model
Table 4.7 Conservation Agriculture as Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change
Table 4.8 Result of Heckman two stage sample selection model
Table 4.9 Binary logistic regression for conservation agriculture
Figure 3.1 The map of the study area
Figure 4.1 Households undertaking Conservation Agriculture Technique
Figure 4.2 Household’s means of Participation on Conservation Agriculture
Figure 4.4 Climate adaptation measures practiced
Figure 4.5 Causes of non adaptation to climate change
FARMERS’ PERCEPTION OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE IN WESTERN ETHIOPIA: THE CASE OF GUTO GIDA AND SASIGA DISTRICTS
Climate is a primary determinant of agricultural productivity. Ethiopia, one of the developing countries, is facing serious natural resource degradation problems. Adaptation strategies for environmental conservation require cooperation and local participation in environmental rehabilitation which in turn requires examining the local peoples’ willingness, beliefs, knowledge, attitude, interest and perception about climate change and conservation agriculture. The main objective of this study was to examine the farmer’s perceptions and adaptation to climate change and participation in conservation agriculture. The data used for the study were collected from 142 farm households heads drawn from the five kebeles of Sasiga district and four kebeles of Guto Gida district. Primary data were collected using a structured questionnaire. In addition, secondary data were extracted from relevant sources to supplement the data obtained from the survey.
In addition to descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation and percentages used, Heckman two stage sample selection model was employed to examine farmer’s perceptions and adaptations of climate change. Farmers level of education, household nonfarm income, livestock ownership, extension on crop and livestock, households credit availability, temperature and precipitation were those variables which significantly affect the adaptation to climate change. Similarly, the farmers perception of climate change was affected significantly by information on climate, farmer to farmer extension, local agro -ecology, number of relatives in development group and perception of change in duration of season. A binary logit model was employed to analyze determinants of farmers’ participation in conservation agriculture. Education level of the household head, number active family labour and main employment of the household head were significant variables in determining participation in conservation agriculture.
Based on the results obtained, the following points were found to be of paramount importance: the government and policy makers should encourage the way farmers get extension on crop and livestock than ever in order to increase the farmer’s adaptability to climate change. Perceiving the occurrence of climate change is prerequisite to adapt to the change. So, the government, policy makers, and NGOs should focus on the experience sharing between household farmers through conducting farmer to farmer extension.
Throughout the world today, depletion of natural resources is among the major problems facing human beings (Abera, 2003). Agriculture places heavy burden on the environment in the process of providing humanity with food and fiber, while climate is the primary determinant of agricultural productivity (Bruce et al., 2001 and Apata et al., 2009).
Ethiopia, one of the developing countries, is facing serious natural resource degradation problems (Anemut, 2006). One of the main features of the country is the diversity in altitude and accompanying climatic and ecological variations (Shibru & Kifle, 1998). According to Anemut (2006) environmental damage hamper development through reducing the level of welfare of the society by depleting environmental resources, reducing the quality of environment and decreasing long term productivity.
One of Ethiopia's principal natural resources is its rich endowment of agricultural land. Agriculture which constitutes 46 percent of GDP directly supports about 85 percent of the population in terms of employment and livelihood; contributes about 50 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP); generates about 88 percent of the export earnings; and supplies around 73 percent of the raw material requirement of agro-based domestic industries (Shimelles et al., 2009). However, Land degradation, especially soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion and soil moisture stress, is a major problem confronting Ethiopia. The proximate causes of land degradation include cultivation of steep slopes and erodible soils, low vegetation cover of the soil, burning of dung and crop residues, declining fallow periods, and limited application of organic or inorganic fertilizers (Berhanu, 2004).
According to Desta (2012) and Deressa et al., (2011) agriculture is the backbone of the Ethiopian economy and is given special attention by the government to spearhead the economic transformation of the country. Climate is a primary determinant of agricultural productivity. Agronomic and economic impacts from climate change depend primarily on the rate and magnitude of change in climate attributes and the agricultural effects of these changes, and the ability of agricultural production to adapt to changing environmental conditions (Bruce et al., 2001). Though climate change is a threat to agriculture and non-agricultural socio-economic development, agricultural production activities are generally more vulnerable to climate change than other sectors (Ayanwuyi et al., 2010).
In the context of environmental problems, the existence of land degradation, soil erosion and unfertile soil, lack of natural resource, deforestation and changing climatic condition are among the prevailing factors that affect production in East Wollega Zone, especially in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts. These districts are seriously affected by land degradation, existence of unfertile soil, lack of natural resources as forests that protect ecological balance. In the Guto Gida district concerning livestock rearing there were factors that affect the production of it as less grazing land and diseases. In addition to environmental problems, agricultural production and productivity in Guto Gida district is with obstacles as shortage of land and selected seeds, lack of modern machine and shortage of fruit and vegetable seed (GGDFEDO, 2011).
In the case of Sasiga district there were factors affecting production of livestock rearing as inadequate feeding, disease, low genetic potential and shortage of grazing land and agricultural productivity in this district is with some obstacles as termite, soil degradation which results in soil acidity, soil erosion, deforestation and climatic condition of the district (SDFEDO, 2011). This makes the importance of investigating the factors associated with adoption or non-adoption of conservation agriculture as an adaptation method of climate change.
The purpose of this study is therefore, to examine the farmers’ perceptions and adaptation to climate change, the way farmers perceive change in climate from the perspective of temperature and precipitation and adoption of conservation agriculture, minimum soil disturbance when producing crops, as an adaptation method of climate change in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts, East Wollega Zone.
In the agricultural sector, both adaptation to long-term climate change and inter-annual climate variability involve processes of interaction among individual farmers, agrarian communities, climate scientists, and policy makers, all of whom have unique sets of knowledge, interests, values, and power (Prakarma and Todd, 2011). Climate variability poses one of the major challenges facing agricultural and livestock producers around the world (Ashley and Christopher, 2009). Africa is generally acknowledged to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change (Apata et al., 2009 and Ole et al., 2009). The natural resource requirements to meet the food needs of increasing populations vary considerably among the major agro-ecological zones in Africa. Despite the regional variations, it can be succinctly said that Africa is greatly endowed with suitable land for agricultural production, large rivers and lakes, fisheries, wildlife and agricultural bio-diversity (UNECA, 2001). According to Claudia (2010), climate change leads to declines in agricultural productivity and crop yields in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, consequently the nutrition of millions of people could be compromised.
Currently, Ethiopia is one of the most severely affected countries in sub-Saharan African countries. The most severe environmental problems in Ethiopia include land degradation (Edward et al., 2011), mainly due to physical soil loss and depletion of soil nutrients, overgrazing and deforestation and environmental vulnerability due to climate variability causing droughts and floods and indoor air pollution and water pollution (EEU, 2008). The direct causes of land degradation and vulnerability to climate variability include production on steep slopes and fragile soils with inadequate investments in soil conservation or vegetative cover, erratic and erosive rainfall patterns, declining use of fallow, limited recycling of dung and crop residues to the soil, limited application of external sources of plant nutrient, deforestation, and overgrazing (EEU, 2008).
Land degradation, loss of soil fertility and lack of sufficient natural resources such as forests that protect ecological balance are major environmental problems prevailing in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts (GGDFEDO, 2011 and SDFEDO, 2011). Moreover, adaptation strategies for environmental conservation require cooperation and local participation in environmental rehabilitation which in turn requires examining the local peoples’ willingness, beliefs, knowledge, attitude, interest and perception about climate change and conservation agriculture.
Literature on farmers' perceptions about climate change and participation on conservation agriculture in Ethiopia in general and in the Oromia Region in particular are very few. There are no empirical studies conducted on farmers' perceptions of climate change and their adoption decision on agricultural conservation strategies in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts. In these districts in particular and Ethiopia in general efforts were undertaken to solve the environmental problems. In order to address countries policy of natural resource management and climate change designed on GTP through proactive and organized community participation, the societies in the study area are working to handle challenges of climate change by promoting multiple cropping, appropriate natural resources conservation practices and others. In Guto Gida district the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) called Siiqqee Womens Development Association (SWDA) has tried a lot in changing the culture of the society from cutting down trees to rehabilitation of the environment in areas of Jarso Tolera, Ukke and Meda Jalela peasant associations. But the surround society was unable to protect the planted trees rather they degraded it. When we came to the Sasiga district the NGO called Food for Hungry Ethiopia (FHE) was there since June 2004 in order to improve the awareness of the general society in environmental conservation. But due to new settlers deforestation is daily phenomenon with the pretext of constructing houses and fetching firewood without efforts of raising and planting seedlings which highly contribute towards deforestation and then environmental degradation. Therefore, this study is intended to fill the research gap in the area of farmers’ perceptions of climate change and adoption decision of conservation strategies.
In view of the stated problems, this research will try to give answers to the following questions:
- What factors influence farmers’ perceptions and adaptations to climate change?
- Do farmers in the study area perceive conservation agriculture as adaptation strategy to climate change?
- What are the factors that affect farmers’ participation in conservation agriculture?
The general objective of this study is to examine the farmers’ perceptions and adaptation to climate change and conservation agriculture.
Specific objectives are to:
- Examine farmers’ perceptions and adaptations of climate change.
- Investigate farmers’ perception towards conservation agriculture as adaptation strategy to climate change.
- Analyze the determinants of farmers’ participation in conservation agriculture.
Comprehensive understanding of farmers’ perception of climate change and adoption of conservation agriculture is crucial in designing future research and development strategies. This study will help policy makers to develop evidence based future research, extension, and development programs aimed at benefiting smallholder farmers. Policy makers will benefit from the research output, since they require micro-level information to formulate policies and strategies so that their effort would be appropriate in meeting farmers’ need in particular and to bring change in conservation of agriculture, in general. Also this research result will benefit development planners, other researchers and ultimately the farmers.
In addition to this, this piece of work tries to identify determinants of adoption of conservation agriculture by farmers. Therefore, the study will generate information on diverse set of issues related to adaptation of climate change and adoption of conservation agriculture in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts. Moreover, the study can serve as departing point to undertake similar research in other areas.
The study aims at examining farmers’ perceptions of climate change conservation agriculture and identifying determinants of adoption of conservation agriculture. This study was limited to two districts of the Oromiya National Regional State, in western Ethiopia, East Wollega Zone. This is mainly because of the following;
- There was no enough availability of resources to undertake the study at a wider scale. This was forced me to limit sample size to few respondents.
- There was scarcity of time to reach all households in the district.
Although the study was limited both in sample size, time and area coverage, the results of the study were expected to be of value in examining the perception of farmers of climate change and adoption of conservation agriculture.
This thesis is organized in to five chapters. Chapter one deals with background information, statement of problem, objectives, significance and scope of the study. Chapter two contains the review of literature which focuses on theoretical and empirical aspects of climate change perception and adaptation and conservation agriculture. Description of the study area, method of data collection, analysis, and definition of variables are stated in chapter three. Chapter four is reporting the discussion of results and finally chapter five presents conclusion and recommendation of the study.
Conservation agriculture (CA) is a set of practices widely promoted to increase productivity while conserving soil through reduced tillage, mulching and crop rotation (Philip, 2011). According to Nancy (2001) it means growing crops with as little disturbance to the soil as possible. Conserving soil and water, maintaining soil fertility, reducing soil disturbance, improving water infiltration, building up soil organic matter and supporting soil life are among the importance of conservation agriculture (Nancy, 2001) As FAO (2011) conservation agriculture is an approach to managing agro-ecosystems for improved and sustained productivity, increased profits and food security while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment.
Conservation agriculture is the integration of ecological management with modern, scientific, agricultural production. Conservation agriculture employs all modern technologies that enhance the quality and ecological integrity of the soil, but the application of these is tempered with traditional knowledge of soil husbandry gained from generations of successful farmers (Dumanski et al., 2006). As stated in Dumanski et al, (2006) conservation agriculture provides direct benefits to environmental issues of global importance. These include land degradation, air quality, climate change, and biodiversity and water quality.
According to Kassam and Friedrich (2010) conservation agriculture, comprising minimum mechanical soil disturbance and direct seeding, organic mulch cover, and crop diversification, is now practiced on more than 115 million hectare in all continents and all ecologies, including the semi-arid Mediterranean environments. As stated by Sandra et al., (2011) conservation agriculture (CA) is increasingly promoted in Africa as an alternative for coping with the need to increase food production on the basis of more sustainable farming practices. CA is specifically seen as a way to address the problems of soil degradation resulting from agricultural practices that deplete the organic matter and nutrient content of the soil. Conservation agriculture is based on the principles of rebuilding the soil, optimizing crop production inputs, including labor, and optimizing profits (Dumanski et al., 2006).
Conservation agriculture (CA) aims to make better use of agricultural resources through the integrated management of available soil, water and biological resources, combined with limited external inputs. It contributes to environmental conservation and to sustainable agricultural production by maintaining a permanent or semi-permanent organic soil cover. Zero or minimum tillage, direct seeding and a varied crop rotation are important elements of CA (FAO, 2001).
Conservation agriculture emphasizes that the soil is a living body, essential to sustain quality of life on the planet (Dumanski et al., 2006). Conservation agriculture (CA) has been proposed as an adapted set of management principles that assures a more sustainable agricultural production. It combines the following basic principles: (1) reduction in tillage, (2) retention of adequate levels of crop residues and soil surface cover, (3) use of crop rotations. These CA principles are applicable to a wide range of crop production systems (Verhulst et al., 2012 and FAO, 2011).
Conservation agriculture strives to develop a balanced coexistence between rural and urban societies, based on increased urban awareness of the environmental benefits and services provided by the rural sector. It works with the international and national market place to develop financial mechanisms to ensure that environmental benefits provided by CA are recognized by society at large, and benefits accrued to CA practitioners. The rapid adoption of conservation technologies by large as well as small farmers in many areas of the world, often without government support, is clear evidence of the economic, environmental and social benefits that accrue from these practices (Dumanski et al., 2006).
CA maintains a permanent or semi-permanent organic soil cover consisting of a growing crop or dead mulch. The function of the organic cover is to physically protect the soil from sun, rain and wind and to feed soil biota. According to FAO (2001) CA techniques include;
Direct sowing (direct drilling) or no-tillage: The soil remains undisturbed from harvest to planting except for nutrient injection. Planting or drilling takes place in a narrow seedbed or slot created by coulters, row cleaners, disk openers, in-row chisels or roto-tillers.
Ridge-till: The soil remains undisturbed from harvest to planting except for nutrient injection. Planting takes place in a seedbed prepared on ridges with sweeps, disk openers, coulters, or row cleaners. Residue is left on the surface between ridges. Weed control is by herbicides and/or cultivation. Ridges are rebuilt during cultivation.
Mulch till (reduced tillage) or minimum tillage: The soil is disturbed prior to planting. Tillage tools such as chisels, field cultivators, disks, sweeps or blades are used. Weed control is by herbicides and/or cultivation. In non-inversion tillage, soil is disturbed (but not inverted) immediately after harvest to partially incorporate crop residues and promote weed seed germination to provide soil cover during the intercrop period. These weeds are later chemically destroyed (using herbicides) and incorporated at sowing, in one pass, with non-inversion drills.
Cover crops: Sowing of appropriate species, or growing spontaneous vegetation, in between rows of trees, or in the period of time in between successive annual crops, as a measure to prevent soil erosion and to control weeds. Cover-crop management generally utilizes herbicides with a minimum environmental impact.
Agriculture is the income base of many people in Africa who also greatly depend on natural resources, especially on soil and water, as well as on climatic conditions. Climate change affects both water availability and agriculture (Gyorgyi, 2009). It is already a continent under pressure from climate stresses and is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Many areas in Africa are recognized as having climates that are among the most variable in the world on seasonal and decadal time scales. Floods and droughts can occur in the same area within months of each other. These events can lead to famine and widespread disruption of socio-economic well-being (UNFCCC, 2007).
Many factors contribute and compound the impacts of current climate variability in Africa and will have negative effects on the continent’s ability to cope with climate change. These include poverty, illiteracy and lack of skills, weak institutions, limited infrastructure, lack of technology and information, low levels of primary education and health care, poor access to resources, low management capabilities and armed conflicts (UNFCCC, 2007).
Changing climate condition has severe impact on developing countries. Climate condition affects agricultural production and food security through income from agriculture production, costs to consumers and food scarcity. Agricultural production largely depends on climatic variables, such as temperature, precipitation and light. Ability of the farm households to grow enough food to support their family and livestock, to a large extent, is determined by the weather condition (Jyotirmayee and Mahamaya, 2008). In addition, climate change exacerbates the already daunting challenges facing the agricultural sector, and this is particularly the case in developing countries (Travis and Daniel, 2010).
Climate change and agriculture are inextricably linked. Agriculture still depends fundamentally on the weather. Climate change has already caused a negative impact on agriculture in many parts of the world because of increasingly severe weather patterns. Climate change is expected to continue to cause floods, worsen desertification and disrupt growing seasons. Climate change and food security are related because climate change can directly affect a country’s ability to feed its people (Sarah, 2008).
Climate change is expected to adversely affect agricultural production in Africa. Because agricultural production remains the main source of income for most rural communities in the region, adaptation of the agricultural sector is imperative to protect the livelihoods of the poor and to ensure food security. A better understanding of farmers’ perceptions of climate change, ongoing adaptation measures, and the decision – making process is important to inform policies aimed at promoting successful adaptation strategies for the agricultural sector (ACCCA, 2010).
In recent years, environment has become a key issue in Ethiopia. The main environmental problems in the country include land degradation, soil erosion, and deforestation, loss of biodiversity, desertification, recurrent drought, flood and water and air pollution (NMA, 2007). Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of slightly more than US$10 billion and a population of more than 70 million (Yesuf et al., 2008).At present, agriculture dominates the Ethiopian economy, accounting for nearly half of GDP and for the vast majority of employment. While the country is highly dependent on the agricultural sector for income, foreign currency, and food security, the sector is dominated by small-scale farmers who employ largely rain-fed and traditional practices, a state which renders Ethiopia highly vulnerable to climate variability(as seen during past persistent drought), and thus to climate change (ACCCA, 2010).
Ethiopia's history is associated, more often than not, with major natural and man-made hazards that have been affecting the population from time to time. Drought and famine, flood, malaria, land degradation, livestock disease, insect pests and earthquakes have been the main sources of risk and vulnerability in most parts of the country. Especially, recurrent drought, famine and, recently, flood are the main problems that affects millions of people in the country almost every year. While the causes of most disasters are climate related, the deterioration of the natural environment due to unchecked human activities and poverty has further exacerbated the situation (NMA, 2007).
The expansion of agriculture usually takes place at the expense of the natural vegetation, particularly forests, woodlands and other wildlife resources, leading to loss of both flora and fauna, and ultimately, destruction of habitats as a whole. Some wild relatives of cultivated crops are also threatened by such habitat destruction. The rate of deforestation due to mainly agricultural expansion and fuel wood gathering is remarkably high. This process has immense impacts on biodiversity and ultimately leads to desertification (NMA, 2007).
According to MoFED and the United Nations Country Team (2004) environmental degradation in Ethiopia is closely related to the recurrence of droughts, food insecurity, and declining farm productivity. Currently, the country reports about 15 million people affected by drought. It is now widely accepted that much of the hunger in Ethiopia has to do with the human factor exploiting the environment in an unsustainable manner. Soil depletion, deforestation and absence of irrigation contributed to an alarming decline in the fertility of land, making farming a difficult and risky enterprise.
Climate change is affecting agricultural regions throughout the world. Economic reforms that would help countries negatively affected by climate change could include the introduction of flexible land-use policies and the elimination of subsidies. Increased access to financial services such as credit, marketing systems, training and irrigation would also mitigate the impacts (Sarah, 2008). In many regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continuous cropping and use of inappropriate farming practices has had massive negative environmental impacts characterized by declining soil fertility and erosion, degradation of vast expanses of arable land further causing low yields, food insecurity and perennial starvation (Guto et al., 2011).
Conservation agriculture is a powerful mechanism to adapt to climate change by increasing resilience to drought and increasing water use efficiency. Climate change is believed to have a great impact on soils. Increasing temperature would increase oxidation of the organic carbon in soil. Its levels will go down further. Incidence of runoff /wind erosion may increase due to increase in extreme events (Carlton, P. and Antonio, A., 2012). Conservation agriculture can increase the ability of smallholder farmers to adapt to climate change by reducing vulnerability to drought and enriching the local natural resource base on which farm productivity depends. Conservation agriculture aims at increasing the annual input of fresh organic matter, controlling soil organic material losses through soil erosion, and reducing the rate of soil organic material mineralization (Carlton, P. and Antonio, A., 2012).
Developing countries are vulnerable to climate change because they depend heavily on agriculture, they tend to be relatively warm already, they lack infrastructure to respond well to increased variability, and they lack capital to invest in innovative adaptations (Travis and Daniel, 2010). Participation in programs for environmental protection is an increasingly important tool for accomplishing environmental policy objectives (Dariush et al., 2009). Conserving biodiversity in tropical countries is a challenge because a large proportion of the rural poor are dependent on forest resources for sustenance. Exclusion of people from forests in order to protect wildlife often antagonizes the local communities and creates an unfavorable climate for conservation (Arjunan et al., 2006).
While Ethiopia is highly dependent on the agricultural sector for income, foreign currency, and food security, the sector is dominated by small-scale farmers who employ largely rain-fed and traditional practices – a state which renders Ethiopia highly vulnerable to climate variability(as seen during past persistent drought), and thus to climate change (ACCCA, 2010). According to ACCCA (2010) some of the important adaptation options of climate change are crop diversification, using different crop varieties, using short growing crop varieties, increased use of labor input per unit of land, increased use of soil and water management techniques, plating more trees at plot, use of external fertilize at plot level and borrowing lost crops from community and others.
Farmers’ perception of climate change is the condition for their initiation of adaptation practices (ACCCA, 2010). Some empirical studies as Temesgen et al., (2008) indicated that age of the head of the household, farm income, information on climate change, farmer-to-farmer extension, number of relatives in a farmers group and agro-ecological settings affect the perception of climate change positively.
As explained by Maddison, (2006) using Heckman’s sample selectivity probit model, experienced farmers are more likely to perceive climate change. The perception of climate change appears to hinge on farmer experience and the availability of free extension advice specifically related to climate change.
The higher likelihood of perceiving climate change with increasing age of the head of the household is associated with experience which lets farmers observe changes over time and compare such changes with current climatic conditions (Temesgen et al., 2008). Access to information on climate change through extension agents or other sources creates awareness and favorable condition for adoption of farming practices that are suitable under climate change (Maddison, 2006). Information on climate change through extension or other public sources, farmer-to-farmer extension and number of relatives in the ‘Got’ increase the likelihood of climate change perception as they play an important role in the availability and flow of information.
The agro-ecological setting of farmers influences the perception of farmers to climate change. According to Deressa et al. (2011) farmers living in dega (highlands) perceived more change in climate than farmers in Kola (lowland) or Woinadega (mid-land).
Adaptation to climate change actually involves a two-stage process: first perceiving that climate change has occurred and then deciding whether or not to adopt a particular measure. This gives rise to a sample selectivity problem since only those individuals who perceive climate change will adapt, whereas making inferences about the population of agriculturalists in general is needed (Maddison, 2006).
Farmers’ adaptation strategies to climate change included crop, soil fertility and soil water management practices. Concerning crop management the disparity of adoption of the strategies clearly indicate the need to test their effectiveness to save time, effort and resource for farmers (Akponikpe et al., 2010). As stated by Akponikpe et al., (2010) soil fertility management permits to mitigate climate change impacts. According to Yesuf et al., (2008) adaptation not only enables farmers to cope with the adverse effects of climate change and variability, but also increases the agricultural productivity of poor farm households.
According to Temesgen et al., (2008) variables that positively and significantly influence adaptation to climate change include education of the head of household, household size, and gender of the head of household, livestock ownership, extension on crop and livestock production, and availability of credit and temperature.
Male headed households are often considered to be more likely to get information about new technologies and take on risk than female-headed households. Farm size and annual average precipitation are negatively related to adaptation. The reason for the negative relationship between average annual precipitation and adaptation could be due to the fact that, like any African country, Ethiopia’s agriculture is water- scarce, and higher levels of precipitation, therefore, will not constrain agricultural production and promote the need to adapt (Temesgen et al., 2008).
Rainfall and temperature are important determinants of crop harvests, and unfavorable realizations of either the amount or the temporal distribution of rainfall triggers food shortages and famine. Perceived change in temperature has also quite significant effect in the likelihood of employing climate change adaptation strategies (ACCCA, 2010).
Adoption or disadoption of conservation agriculture practices is dependent on several characteristics of the household (Stephen and Cynthia, 2005). Paulos (2002) found out that age had a negative effect on conservation decision in that it decreases participation in environmental protection. Participation to agro-environmental schemes depends on the farmers’ characteristics. Farmers’ characteristics also play a role in determining their agro-environmental responses. Farmers’ characteristics such as age and attitude are important predictors of farmers’ participation. Factors such as socio-economic status can influence people’s attitudes towards conservation. Farmers’ attitudes toward the environment can be affected by the family situation, the farmers’ goals, type of farm, farm size, farm income, off-farm income and length of farming experience (Dariush et al., 2009).
According to Nyanga (2011) smallholder farmers’ perceptions related to floods and droughts were significantly associated with adoption of conservation agriculture. The extent to which smallholder farmers perceived conservation agriculture as a climate change adaptation strategy was very low (Nyanga, 2011).
Poor rural households in developing countries lack adequate access to credit (Abera, 2003). As studied by him farmers who have access to credit have a higher probability of retaining conservation structures than those with no access and farm size and expectation of better soil retention as a result of conservation structures were positively and significantly affect farmer’s decision to adopt soil conservation technologies.
Household’s personal and demographic variables are among the most common household characteristics, which are mostly associated with farmers' adoption behavior. Education is associated with adoption because it is believed to increase farmers’ ability to obtain, and analyze information that helps him/her to make appropriate decision. Farming experience is another important household related variable that has relationship with adoption. Longer farming experience implies accumulated farming knowledge and skill, which has contribution for adoption. Land related variables influence farmers’ adoption behavior, as land holding is an important unit where agricultural activities take place. Concerning land holding, different studies reported its effect positively (Tigist, 2010).
As studied by Tigist (2010) livestock holding is an important indicator of household's wealth position. Livestock is also an important income source, which enables farmers to invest on adoption of improved agricultural technologies. In most cases, livestock holding has positive contribution to household’s adoption of agricultural technologies. Many adoption studies have reported positive effect of livestock holding on adoption. There is a concern about the interactions between livestock production systems and the environment. Issues associated with extensive grazing systems include deforestation and the growing degradation of rangelands and water sources due to unsustainable management practices (IFAD, 2010).
The extension programs relating to environmental conservation must be considered as factor that motivates people to participate in conservational programs and promote local participation according to known motivators. In fact, people’s participation in natural resources conservation programs for ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources for future generations, leads to optimization of environmental programming process in different stages including program design, implementation, evaluation, promotion of local awareness about environmental threats that have disturbed the earth planet and made it chaotic, and the rise of responsibility sense for better utilization of natural resources (Dariush et al., 2009).
Guto Gida is among the 17 districts of East Wollega Zone that has 21 farmers associations and 1 urban center possessing a total area of 901.80 km2 It is contiguous with Gidda Ayyana, Abe Dongoro and Gudaya Bila through the North, Sibu Sire and Wayyu Tuka through the East, Leka Dulecha through the south and Digga, Sasiga and Benshengul Gumuz Regional State through the west (GGDFEDO, 2011).
Sasiga district is also found in East Wollega Zone. It is located at about 18 kilometers west of Nekemte town, zonal town, possessing a total area of 980.70 km2. This district is contiguous with Benshengul Gumuz Regional State in the North and West, Digga district in the south, and Guto Gida district in the east. It is divided in to 27 farmers associations and one urban center having the capital town named Gallo (SDFEDO, 2011).
The majority of the populations of the Guto Gida and Sasiga districts were included in the age group 5-9 which is 16 percent of total population in both districts (CSA, 2007). Based on the population density there is dispersed rural settlement pattern in each peasant association (GGDFEDO, 2011). According to CSA (2007) about 96.80 percent of the total populations Sasiga district were rural population, which are directly engaged their life with even the back bone of the country called agriculture. According to population and housing census of 2007, Sasiga district has a total population of 80,814 of which 48.90 percent were female and Guto Gida district has a total of 89,906 of which 49 percent were female (CSA, 2007).
Figure 3.1 The map of the study area
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Source: East Wollega Zone Finance and Economic Development Office (2013)
Climate isthelong-termeffect of the sun's radiation on the rotating earth's varied surface and atmosphere. Agroecological zones are areas where predominant physical conditions guide relatively homogeneous agricultural land use options. Because of Ethiopia’s location near the equator, elevation has very strong influence on temperature and, to lesser extent, on rainfall. Elevation is the basis for traditional agroecological divisions, which have long been used to characterize different environments in Ethiopia (CSA and IFPRI, 2011). Climate can be understood most easily in terms of annual or seasonal averages of temperature and precipitation. Guto Gida district is situated between altitude of 1,350 to 2,450 meters above sea level which reflects the existence of three agro-ecological zones i.e. Kolla, Woina Dega and Dega. As a result this area is experienced mean annual temperature of slightly greater than 150c and mean annual rainfall of 1,600 mm to 2,000 mm (GGDFEDO, 2011). Most part of the land of Sasiga district has an elevation above 1000 meters and characterized by sub tropical climatic condition with a mean annual temperature between 26.50c and 270c and mean annual rainfall of 800 mm to 1,200 mm (SDFEDO, 2011).
Soils vary from locality to locality. Different soil types are formed basically based on parent materials, climate vegetation, latitude and interaction among these factors (OBoFED, 2004). Soil condition determines the agricultural production possibilities of a given area from biophysical perspective (CSA and IFPRI, 2011).
Clay loam is among the soil types found in Guto Gida district i.e. it covers 16.33 percent of the total land of the district. Sandy soil covers 55,734.60 hectares of land which is about 23.06 percent of the total land of the district. The other soil type exist in the district is loam soil, dominantly found in the district, which is good potentiality for agriculture and covers 42.80 percent of the total land of the district (GGDFEDO, 2011).
According to SDFEDO, (2011) Sandy is the soil dominantly found in Sasiga district with largest spatial coverage (55 percent), which has good potentiality for agriculture. Clay loam soil covers 45 percent of total land of the district.
The Natural forest of the districts covers the total area of 2,723.5 and 21,958 hectares of land in Guto Gida and Sasiga respectively. Manmade type of forest is planted to solve the problem of environmental problem such as soil erosion, desertification, deforestation, and etc. With the aim of satisfying one of the millennium development goals of United Nations the inhabitants of the districts were participated on the planting and protecting the trees. The area covered by manmade forest in Guto Gida and Sasiga districts is 930 and 8,247 hectare respectively (GGDFEDO, 2011 and SDFEDO, 2011).
The crop cultivation activity was conducted during meher season only in both districts. The major crops produced in these districts are Sorghum, Maize, Sesame, Niger seed, Teff, and Millet. According to GGDFEDO (2011), production 799,903 quintals were gained from 38,649.50 hectares of land cultivated in Guto Gida district during production year of 2009/10 while 16,928 quintals of crop were generated from 2,489 hectare of land in Sasiga district during the same production year ( SDFEDO, 2011).
According to SDFEDO (2011) the crop produced in the Sasiga district was sufficient to feed the total population of the district only in the case of vegetables. But agricultural productivity in this district is with some obstacles as termite, soil degradation occurred as a result of soil acidity, soil erosion, deforestation and climatic condition of the district.
In Guto Gida district the crop produced was sufficient to feed the total population of the district during the years 2008/09 and 2009/10. But agricultural productivity is with obstacles as existence of unfavorable climate, shortage of land, improved seeds, lack of modern machine and shortage of fruit and vegetable seed (GGDFEDO, 2011).
Farmers of the Guto Gida district were used the two methods of soil fertility. Traditional methods of maintaining soil fertility used are animal manure, mulching and compost making where as modern methods of maintaining soil fertility in the district are using chemical fertilizers, crop rotation, and plantation . Biological method, vegetated terrace and plantation are among traditional methods of soil conservation and biological and physical soil conservation, terrace construction, soil bund, cut off drain and water way are modern methods of soil conservation exist in the district (GGDFEDO, 2011).
As in Guto Gida district, households in the Sasiga district were used the two methods of soil fertility. Traditional methods of maintaining soil fertility used are counter tracing, crop rotation, fallowing the land, manure and terracing where as modern methods of maintaining soil fertility in the district are using strip cropping, mulching, crop rotation, green maturing, terracing and artificial fertilizer ( SDFEDO, 2011).
In order to analyze the stated objectives both primary and secondary data were used. The main source of data for the study was sample household survey data that was collected from randomly selected households in the study districts. The data was expected to consist of sample household survey on household and farm attributes, socio-economic and demographic characteristics, location characteristics, and other related information in the study area that was essential for this study. The secondary data sources used were published and unpublished documents, journal articles, annual reports and various publication of regional and the respective zonal offices.
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