Characterization and productivity assessment of the farming systems in the upper part of the Nile Basin

Type Journal Article - Ethiopian Journal of Natural Resources
Title Characterization and productivity assessment of the farming systems in the upper part of the Nile Basin
Volume 11
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 149-167
Rainfed agriculutre in Ethiopia is constrained by temporal and spatial variations in
climate and severe land degradation caused by soil erosion that is exacerbated by lack of
appropriate technologies. The continued shrinking per capita agriculutral land due to
population growth and diminishing land quality challenges the livelihood of the
communities. This requires multifaceted and targeted interventions. Testing and scalling
up of interventions require a relatively uniform system, but the basin’s potential and
constraints for crop and livestock productivity is hetrogenous. Farming systems are often
taken as important entry point for scaling up of agricultural technolgies. Based on
secondary data on climate, soil, crop and livestock, and the master plan of the subbasins,
this study clustered and mapped the major farming systems and subsystems in the Nile
Basin. Two major systems, the mixed crop-livestock farming and the
pastoral/agropastoral livelihoods have been identified. The former was sub-grouped into
the cereal based, coffee-tree crops complex and the enset-root crops complex subsystems.
The cereal based system was further classified into the single cropping, double cropping
and shifting cultivation subsystems, each of which was subdivided based on the dominant
crop. The current productivity of the major crops in each farming systems was analysed
and found to be lower than not only their potential but also their national average.
However, some selected soil, water and crop management technologies have shown
substantial yield increase. Thereore, it is believed scaling up of proven tachnologies
within a farming system can substantially enhance crop yield and imrpove livelhood.

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