Conference name, dates, place

International Conference on Contemporary Development Issues in Ethiopia, August 16-18, 2001, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Document Type


Presentation Date



Degradation of the highly scarce agricultural resource, land, has been one of the notorious problems in Ethiopia. One form of degradation of land resource is soil nutrient depletion. Manure application as a source of major plant nutrients contributes to managing land resources towards sustainability through the improvement of physico-chemical properties of the soil. Fallowing too, allows for natural regeneration of the soil. However, decisions on how to manage the land are ultimately made by farmers and their decision-making process is influenced by several factors. This paper attempts to examine the effects of some important farm, family and institutional variables on manure use and fallowing in the Northern Highlands of Ethiopia using a logit model. Data from 111 randomly selected farm families was collected in a formal survey conducted in the Ankober district of the North Shoa Zone in 1999.

The study results show that ownership type, field distance, slope of plots and labour availability are the most important factors determining manure use. Fallowing is affected by land holding, engagement in off-farm activities, livestock ownership and use of commercial fertilizers. Therefore, it is suggested that introduction of labour saving technologies that reduce the drudgery associated with manure application can promote manure use. Ensuring more security of land ownership also encourages manure use as manure takes a long time to decompose. In mixed farming systems improving the livestock component will increase the probability of fallowing. Availability of off-farm activities as a source of other income would also give farmers the possibility to practice fallowing.