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Farmers’ Perception about Soil Erosion in Ethiopia( Published in Land Degradation&Development journal) (28/10/2016)

Soil erosion is a significant problem in the Ethiopian highlands. The objective of this study was to investigate how farmers perceive the severity of soil erosion in the Upper Blue Nile Basin.

The study is based on a detailed survey of 300 households and 1010 plots owned by these households in three watersheds. Descriptive statistics and a partial proportional odds model were applied to analyze factors that affected farmers’ perceived soil erosion severity at the plot-level.

Results showed that variables such as plot distance from the residence, plot shape and position on hill slopes affected farmers’ perceptions of soil erosion severity, as well as the amount of rainfall during the growing season. Farmer interaction with extension service agents also affected farmers’ perception of soil erosion severity. Despite their expected importance, education and number of livestock owned had no effect on the farmers’ perception of soil erosion.

The results indicate that farmers’ perceptions generally match empirical and theoretical findings on soil erosion determinants; thus, farmers should be considered as important partners not only to counter soil erosion, but also to obtain local expertise on soil erosion severity and restoration of degraded land.