Saturday, 15 July 2006

Influence of Household Characteristics on Land Use/Management and Holding Size in the Subhumid Agroecosystems of Western Ethiopia.

Nega Emiru and Abebe Yadessa. Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, BARC, Bako, Ethiopia

Land resources in western Ethiopian sub-humid agro-ecosystems are among the prime assets upon which rural development and poverty reduction initiatives can be built. However, various socio-economic, natural, policy and institutional factors affected the appropriate use/management and holding size of these resources entitled to farmers. The interaction of these factors are complex in nature and multifaceted in their effect ranging from boosting up agricultural production from a given land use type to declining its quality in an irreversible manner. The study aimed at assessing relationships between different farm and household characteristics, and land use/management and holding size was conducted during the autumn season of the year 2003. The study revealed that Land use system of a given household system is highly influenced by different farm and household characteristics and agro ecology to which it belong. Accordingly, percent of cropland among its total holding size is highly influenced by age (râ0.347, pâ001, nâ152), farm size (râ-0.307, pâ003, nâ152), family size (râ-0.371, pâ000, nâ152), and percent grazing land (râ-0.685, pâ000, nâ152). In line with this, farm size is positively correlated with age of household head (râ0.341, pâ0.000, nâ152) and family size (râ0.408, pâ0.000, nâ152), while it is highly correlated with the percent cultivated land (râ0.307, pâ0.003, nâ152) and grazing land (râ-0.383, pâ0.000, nâ152) from its household farm size. Moreover, it is influenced by agro ecology of the area which controls the natural environment to affect human life. The study also concluded that the need for taking policy intervention into action is at the top so as to maintain land quality and fair distribution of holding sizes among those land users. Key words: agro-ecosystems, land holdings, land unit, land use/management.

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