Increasing human and livestock populations in Ethiopia are leading to a growing demand for food and feed. Cereal cropping is highly prioritized at the cost of the livestock subsector and the environment. Grazing land is decreasing, leading to overstocking and overgrazing of pastures, thus fueling conflicts over scarce resources and exacerbating further land degradation. Two independent surveys were carried out in 4 areas in the Ethiopian Highlands, using questionnaires to investigate livestock husbandry as well as farmers' perceptions and attitudes regarding the relationship among cropping, livestock, and natural resources, in the context of broader reflection on what could help support Ethiopia's human, animal, and environmental needs in a sustainable way. In total, 684 farmers were interviewed in 75 villages. The majority of animals were said to be fed on natural pasture and crop residues; only 1.3% of the respondents purchased supplementary feed. Overall, cropland had increased in the study area at the cost of grazing land, and overstocking of pastures was seen as a major problem. Decreasing grazing land was also considered to be due to drought in Woldia and increased human population in Gurage. No pasture management system was in place at community level in our study sites. Less than 2% of the respondents perceived and understood land degradation and subsequent reduced land fertility to be a constraint for sustainable feed production. Measures and priorities for future livelihoods were perceived differently by farmers from different regions. We discuss strategies for de-stocking cattle herds, the nature of which is intrinsically tied to cereal cropping. This study highlights the lack of understanding amongst farmers of the causes and effects of land degradation and the lack of community-based strategies for conservation agriculture.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.