ASSESSMENTS OF SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF BENCH TERRACE PRACTICES; A CASE OF MAY-TUEM AND LAELAY-LOGOMTY VILLAGES, ADWA WOREDA, TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
Address: CAFOD / SCIAF / Trócaire P O Box 1875, Addis Ababa, Gulele Subcity, Swaziland Street, Enqulal Fabrika, Ethiopian Catholic Bishops Conference Centre Tel: +251-(0)11-278-8843/44/45 Fax: +251-(0)11-278-8846 Email: email@example.com Website: www.trocaire.org / www.cafod.org.uk / www.sciaf.org.uk Team members: 1. Kiros Gebretsadik (MSc) 2. Muruts Hagazi (MSc) 3. Hagos Hadgu (MSc) 4. Alem Beyene (MSc) Photo and Layout: Samson Haileyesus Acknowledgements This work would not have been possible without the financial support of the CAFOD, SCIAF Trõcaire (CST) working together. Our sincere appreciation goes to all staff members of this organization, especially to Mr. Abebe Belachew, Mrs. Teamrat Belai and Mrs. Kassech Abegaz for their meticulous supervision of the research work and for their valuable comments, suggestions, assistance, and critical guidance in the preparation of the proposal and the write up of the final research report. The Relief Society of Tigray (REST), have been supportive of this work providing valuable information to us with regard to organizing the target groups of this research and facilitating things to meet on time and to pursue those research goals. We would especially like to thank Mr. Kelem Tilahun, Head of REST Field Office in Adwa. Special thanks also goes to the Adwa district Office of Agriculture and Rural Development and staffs in for their support in providing valuable information in the study area. Each of the leaders of Youth and sports Affairs, Youth Association, Farmers’ Association, Women’s Association and Women’s Affairs in the two study area have provided us extensive briefings, about the impact of bench terrace practices, economic, social and ecological impacts and challenges faced to Youth cooperatives of the bench terrace. We are grateful to all of those with whom we have had the contact during data collection of this project. Finally, we would like also to thank the Aksum University, especially Dr. Misgina Gebrehiwet, Vice President for Research and Community Service Program and Mr. Hailemariam Araya, Director of Community service and University-Industry Linkage for their commitment and guidance to facilitate financial settlements.
Above Ground Biomass
Above Ground Biomass Carbon;
Analysis of Variance
Below Ground Biomass
Below Ground Biomass Carbon;
Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia
CAFOD, SCIAF, & Trõcaire joint office
Cation Exchange Capacity
Focus Group Discussion
General Linear Model
Least Significant Difference
Meter above sea level
National Adaptation Plan of Action
Office of Agriculture and Rural Development
Relief Society of Tigray
Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’
Statistical Package for Social Science
Soil and Water Conservation
Total Biomass carbon
Tropical Livestock Unit
Table of Content
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY VIII 1. INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Background 1 1.2 OBJECTIVES 4 1.2.1 General Objective 4 1.2.2 Specific Objectives 4 2. METHODOLOGY 5 2.1. Site Description 5 2.2. Data Collection Method 5 2.2.1. Survey 5 2.2.2. Soil Sample collection and Laboratory analysis 6 2.2.3. Biomass 7 2.3. Data Analysis 8 2.3.1. Survey Data 8 2.3.2. Experimental data analysis 8 3. RESULT AND DISCUSSIONS 9 3.1. Demographic and socio-economic characteristics 10 3.2. Short and long term Social, Economic and Ecological benefits of bench terrace 11 3.2.1. Social benefits of bench terrace 12 3.2.2. Short and long term economic benefits of Bench terrace 14 184.108.40.206. Short term economic benefits 14 220.127.116.11. Long term economic benefits 15 18.104.22.168. Potentials of Bench terraced areas for Fruit and Vegetable crops Production 16 22.214.171.124. Potentials of Bench terraced areas for multipurpose forage Production 16 3.2.3Ecological Benefits of Bench Terrace 17 126.96.36.199. Species Abundance 20 188.8.131.52. Above and Below Ground Biomass and Biomass Carbon 23 184.108.40.206. Soil Quality 26 220.127.116.11. Land degradation and Soil Erosion 28 3.3. Best practices and strengths of bench terrace implementation 30 3.4. Social and Economic challenges of landless youths 31 3.5. Management and Institutional setup of the cooperatives 33 4. Existing gaps and challenges in practical implementation of bench terracing 33 5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 34 5.1 Conclusion 37 5.2 Recommendation 46 6. REFERENCES 49
LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Demographic and socio-economic dummy variables 10 Table 2: Demographic and socio-economic continuous variables 11 Table 3: Impacts of project intervention to local communities 13 Table 4: Horticultural crops grown and potential area of the study area 14 Table 5: Forage production and estimated gross profit from fattening 16 Table 6: Mean (±SD) of tree and shrub biomass and Biomass carbon of Laelay-Logomty 18 Table 7: Mean (±SD) of tree and shrub species biomass and biomass carbon of and May-Tuem 18 Table 8: Mean (±SD) Grass herbs biomass, and Carbon stock of Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem 19 Table 9: Soil Physico-chemical properties of Laelay-Logomty 21 Table 10: Soil Physico-chemical analysis of May-Tuem area closure 21 Table 11: Ecological threats before bench terrace intervention at study areas 24 Table 12: Short and long term ecological improvements after bench trace implementation 25 Table 13: Constraints and challenges which face to landless youths 29 Table 14: Existing gaps and challenges in practical implementation of bench terracing 32 LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Some Bench terrace practices in Tigray 3 Figure 2: Map of the Study Kebeles 5 Figure 3: Project area in Laelay-Logomty Kebele 5 Figure 4: Project area in May-Tuem Kebele 5 Figure 5: Focus group discussion in Laelay-Logomty (a) and May-Tuem (b) 6 Figure 6: Soil sample collection using auger 6 Figure 7: Biomass and soil sampling design 7 Figure 8: Papaya and Mango fruits on site (a) and (b) and Onion seedlings and Mango fruit off site(c and d) in May-Tuem project area 15 Figure 9: Species richness 17 Figure 10: Bench terrace practiced areas and non-bench terraced hillsides 20 Figure 11: Soil texture 22 Figure 12: Bench terrace practices in the study areas 23 Figure 13: Soil texture 24 Figure 14: Weaknesses in Maintenance and Protection of Bench terraced areas 26 Figure 15: Relay water uplifting (May-Tuem) and large irrigation canal (Laelay-Logomty) 27
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Land degradation, low agricultural productivity and poverty are critical and closely related problems in the Ethiopian highlands. It is a result of several factors of both physical and socio-economic nature and its immediate consequence is reduced crop yield followed by economic decline and social stress. Enormous attempts have been underway to control the land degradation through implementation of Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) measures for decades in Ethiopia- particularly in the Tigray region. Bench terracing is one of the oldest means of saving soil and water in traditional way on the steep sloppy farmlands (average of 12-58% slope) in Ethiopia, dating back 400 years in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoplesâ€™ (SNNP) region in Konso, Naedier-Adiet and Erob in Tigray; and Harerghe highlands. Currently, it has been introduced through modern approach on degraded hillsides in some areas of the Tigray region such as Laelay-Logomty and MayTuem kebeles of Adwa district since 2014 which supported by CST collaboration with REST. Therefore, this study was aimed to assess the social, economic and ecological impacts of bench terrace practices in May-Tuem and Laelay-Logomty kebeles of Adwa district, in the central zone of Tigray regional State. The data was collected from landi
less youth beneficiaries of the project, sample respondents of the localities, Adwa REST field office, women and youth associations and the Office of Agriculture and Rural Development of the district. In addition field measurements were conducted to collect species abundance, biomass, biomass carbon and soil sample using transect lines along the slope and design sample quadrants at 50-metre distance. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the measures of central tendency of SPSS version 20. Experimental data were also subjected to Analysis of Variance, using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of SPSS version 20. The differences among means were tested by using least significant difference (LSD) test. Data collected from Focus group Discussion (FGD) and Key Informants (KI) indicated that, bench terrace has created temporary job opportunities, reduced migration and improved work habits of the community. During implementation of the project, landless youths and the community were earning on average ETB 50-80 per day. Introducing bench terraces in mountainous neglected bare land areas in the study site have created good social awareness and changed farmers` perception as it creates permanent employment opportunity and access to land for landless youths. Bench terraces have provided long term onsite and
offsite economic benefits such as beekeeping, availability of fodder, fruit and vegetable production, cereal production And other means of income. Ecologically, species abundance was enhanced by 83% in bench traced hillsides than the adjacent non-bench terraced hillsides in Laelay-Logomty and by 133% in May-Tuem. A total of 6.28 and 3.34 Mgha-1 of biomass and 32.14 and 28.34 Mgha-1 of ecosystem carbon (including soil carbon) were obtained from bench terraced area in Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem, respectively. Laelay-Logomty site had better in woody trees and shrub biomasses (3.89 Âą 0.35-ton ha-1) followed by May-Tuem site (1.31 Âą 0.32-ton ha-1). Both MayTuem and Laelay-Logomty areas have sandy clay loam and silty clay loam textural classes, respectively. The entire textural classes are agriculturally sound to grow fruits and vegetables. Similarly, bench terrace lowers the soil bulk density than the non-bench terraced hillsides as there is high organic matters accumulation that makes the soil squashy and more pooues which promotes for favourable root growth, enhancing infiltration, enhancing soil water holding capacity and reducing runoff. Bench terrace practices have also shown onsite and offsite ecological improvements (reduced soil loss, improved soil infiltration capacity, improved soil fertility and increased ground water discharge, reduced downstream flooding and damage on neighbour fields and reduced
downstream siltation). Relay water lifting system, integrated soil fertility management practices (planting pigeon pea), construction of large and long irrigation canal, respectable cooperation and integration with local government and the communities were found to be remarkable practices registered during implementation of the bench terrace. Right now, the institutional setup of the cooperatives are poor and their frameworks are not operating under the given set of principles, in which, members of the cooperative in the bench terraces have low sentiments in regards to ownership and are not willing to be responsible and accountable in their activities. Ultimately, as bench terraces are environmentally sound having imperative social, economic and ecological benefits as of its implication on degraded hillsides, they should be scaled up and scaled out to other areas of the region.
1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background
regards to the impacts of climate change. Climate change can accelerate land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, desertification, recurrent floods, as well as water and air pollution. Recurrent droughts and floods pose the greatest threat to local populations. According to the Ethiopia’s National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), the agricultural, water resources and human health sectors will be most negatively impacted by climate change (NAPA, 2007).
An ever-increasing global human population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050 (UN, 2017) and new challenges associated with global climate change, lack of arable land will place enormous demands on natural resources, including water and land availability for food-crop production. The population of Ethiopia was 18,128,000 in 1950 but currently in 2017 it has reached about 104,957,000 and is expected to reach 139,620,000 and 190,870,000 in 2030 and 2050 respectively (UN, Climate change and agriculture 2017). are interrelated processes, both of Land degradation and soil erosion which take place on a global scale. is widely recognized as one of the Climate change affects agriculmost serious environmental prob- ture in a number of ways, including lems confronting developing coun- through changes in average temtries in the tropics, particularly in peratures, rainfall, and climate exAfrica, where almost all inhabited tremes (e.g., heat waves); emerging land in Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) and aggravate pests and diseases are prone to soil and environmen- incidence; changes in atmosphertal degradation (Scherr, 1999; FAO, ic carbon dioxide and ground-lev2004; Vleket al., 2008). The Ethiopi- el ozone concentrations; changes an highlands are most vulnerable to in the nutritional quality of some land degradation problems (Shifer- foods; and changes in sea levels aw and Holden 1999; Dubale, 2001). (Hoffmann et al., 2013). Resources over-exploitation and inappropriate land use such as over-grazing, deforestation, expansion of cultivation and grazing into marginal lands, and backward agricultural practices are considered as the major causes of land degradation (Stocking and Murnaghan, 2000; FAO, 2004; FRA, 2005). Land degradation is increasing because of climate change. Africa is among the most vulnerable continents in 1
Agriculture is the major source of livelihood in Ethiopia. However, land degradation in the form of soil erosion has hampered agricultural productivity and economic growth of the nation (Haileslassie et al., 2005). Land degradation, low agricultural productivity and poverty are critical and closely related problems in the Ethiopian highlands (Yitbareket al., 2012). Land degradation is a result of several factors of both
physical and socio-economic nature. The immediate consequence of land degradation is reduced crop yield followed by economic decline and social stress. The integrated process of land degradation and increased poverty has been referred to as the “downhill spiral of un-sustainability” leading to the “poverty trap” (Greenland et al., 1994). Soil erosion and the resulting agricultural land degradation are the most severe environmental problem in the Ethiopian highlands (Amsalu and de Graaff, 2007). In the Ethiopian highlands, topsoil loss due to soil erosion is estimated to be 1.5 billion tonnes per year (Taddese, 2001), and average annual soil loss from cultivated land is 42 t/ha (Hurni, 1993). This is very high compared to other countries worldwide (Pimentel, 2006). Soil erosion and its consequences is one of the most serious problems in Ethiopia. Various forms of efforts to control the soil erosion through introduced Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) measures have been underway for nearly four decades (Kebede, 2014).Tameneet al. (2006) indicated that some 50% of the highlands of Ethiopia were already significantly eroded, and that erosion was causing an annual decline in land productivity by 2.2%.
to drought. The most pressing climate change poverty concerns in Ethiopia include, land degradation, overgrazing and deforestation, and water pollution. Other, important environmental problems include loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Impacts of increased climate variability and change include (i) increased food insecurity; (ii) outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and water borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery due to floods, and (iii) respiratory diseases associated with droughts; (iv) heavy rainfalls which tend to accelerate land degradation. To reveal the land degradation and resilience of climate change, enormous attempts were made in Tigray regarding soil and water conservation. Afforestation and bench terracing programmes were started in Tigray in 1971 under the support of a USAID, UN/FAO and WFP together with regional government and some results were achieved on the subject of reducing land degradation problems (Hunting, 1976). However, technical and approach failures like incorrect spacing and alignment of terraces, lack of introducing best suited Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) techniques, lack of watershed based SWC practices, lack of ownership development and in general lack of commitment and awareness among farmers concerning the soil conservation efforts were the limitations (Hunting, 1976).
According to Trõcaire 2014 research report Feeling the Heat, the impact of climate change in Ethiopia is already apparent in the increasing temperature and declining rainfall, particularly in Tigray For close to two decades, the Relief which is exceptionally vulnerable Society of Tigray (REST) has collab2
orated with the regional government and other NGOs undertaking integrated soil and water conservation programs which aimed, to prevent environmental degradation and combat climate change effect, to secure water supply for irrigation and other uses and to promote food security in general. Huge water harvesting works like diversion, check dams, ponds and landscape suited SWC technique (i.e. Bench terraces) have been implemented in Tigray and promising results have been achieved. Bench terracing is one of the oldest and traditional means of saving soil and water on the steep sloppy farm-
lands (average of 12-58% slope) in Ethiopia, dating back 400 years in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoplesâ€™(SNNP) Region in Konso (Besha, 2003), Naedier-Adiet and Erob in Tigray; and Harerghe highlands) (Aklilu, 2016). Beyond the traditional bench terrace practices, it has also introduced and practiced in modern approach since the past four to five years in some districts of Tigray region (Kola-Tembien, Atsbi-Wenberta, Abreha â€“Weatsbeha, Ganta-Afeshum, and Adwa) which is supported by both the government and Non Governmental Organizations (Figure 1).
Particularly, CST in collaboration 1.2.2 Specific Objectives 1) To assess short and with REST has implemented bench terrace activities in central zone long term social, economic and ecological benefits of bench of Tigray Adwa district of Laelayterrace practices in the study Logomty and May-Tuem kebeles areas. since 2014.Therefore, this research work was aimed to assess the social, 2) To identity existing gaps and challenges in practical economic and ecological impacts of bench terrace practices with implementation of bench terracing in the study areas. the general and specific objectives 3) To assess the social and illustrated here underneath. economic challenges faced by landless youth in the study 1.2 OBJECTIVES areas 4) To identify best 1.2.1 General Objective practices of bench terrace The overall aim of the study was implemented in the two to assess the ecological, social and study kebeles and scale up economic impacts of bench terrace mechanism. in the case of May-Tuem and LaelayLogomty villages, Adwa district, 5) To assess the Tigray, Ethiopia. management practices and institutional setup of the cooperatives working on the bench terrace.
Figure 1: Some bench terrace practices in Tigray
2.1. Site Description at 14006`04``Nand 38053`05``’E at 10 Adwa district is found at 220 km km distance from Adwa to South difrom Mekelle, the capital city of rection as shown in Figure 4. Tigray regional state, to the North West direction and 1004 Km from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The district has undulating geographic feature with some heaps and hillsides in the range of 1300 to 3000 m.a.s.l (Kjellet al., 2002). Traditional agriculture is the main sources of food and income for smallholders in central zone of Tigray, including Adwa district, northern Ethiopia (Gebremed-Figure 3: Project area in Laelay-Logomty kebele hin and Dawit, 2013). The study area has an average annual temperature of 19.6 °C and average annual rainfall of 668 mm. The district has a total population of 99,711 of which 49,546 are men and 50,165 women. A total of 20,141 households were counted in this district, resulting in an average of 4.95 persons to a household (CSA, 2007).
Figure 4: Project area in May-Tuem kebele 2.2. Data Collection Method 2.2.1. Survey The necessary data for this study was obtained from beneficiaries, sample respondents of the localities, Adwa REST field office and Office of Agriculture and Rural Development (OARD) of the district. The study Figure 2: Map of the Study Kebeles also made use of both qualitative Accordingly, geographically Lae- and quantitative methods of data lay-Logomty is located at 14006` 19`` collection so that both methods N at 26 km distance from Adwa to would complement each other. south east direction as shown in the Qualitative and quantitative data Figure 3 while, May-Tuem is located were gathered from the primary and secondary data sources. Semi 5
structured questionnaires were administered through interviewing to 11 female and 31 male a total of 42 respondents in the study area with the aim of gathering information from the potential beneficiaries of the bench terrace. In addition to this, four focused group discussions (one FGD from each kebele, one FGD from REST field office and one FGD from OARD) and a total of 12 Key Informants (KIs) were conducted to collect the necessary information to clarify and cross-check issues that were not adequately addressed by the respondents. Field observations have also been conducted to assess the biophysical attributes of the study area. A purposive survey was applied on the landless youths who were engaged in the CST-REST project area and farmers across the two study kebeles. They were asked for their attitudes towards the impact of bench terraces on social, economic and ecological benefits and challenges they observed to its practical implementation.
(b) Figure 5: Focus group discussion in Laelay-Logomty (a) and May-Tuem (b) 2.2.2. Soil Sample collection and Laboratory analysis Soil samples were taken randomly considering the slop, soil and vegetation as a source of variations in a zigzag pattern from the two bench traced hillsides and their adjacent non bench terraced hillsides at a depth of 0-20 cm and 20-40 cm using augerto analyze soil Physico-chemical properties (Texture, bulk density, soil organic matter, soil organic carbon, pH, total N and available P and K, EC and CEC (Figure 6). The soil was broken into small crumbs and thoroughly mixed. From this mixture, a sample weighing one kg from each site was filled into a plastic bag to analyse in triplicates using biomass and soil sampling design.
Figure 6: Soil sample collection using Auger 6
The soil was air-dried and sieved using a 2 mm sieve. Then, soil pH was determined by diluting the soil in a 0.01 M CaCl2 solution in the ratio of one soil volume to 2.5 volume of the CaCl2 solution. Thus, twenty-five ml of the 0.01 M CaCl2 solution have been added into soil sub samples each weighing 10 g. After equilibrating for 2-3 hours, the suspensions were filtered and the pH measured by a glass electrode. Texture of the soil was determined by sedimentation method.
2.2.3. Biomass Regarding the vegetation biomass; samples were collected from each bench terrace practiced areas by developing transect lines along the slope and design sample quadrants at 50-meter distance (Figure 7). Land use and land cover change analysis was conducted using twotime satellite images to assess the impact of bench terrace on vegetation coverage before and after the intervention. In addition, ground control points from each land use/land cove classes were collected using hand held global positioning system. Morevoer, above and below ground vegetation biomass were measured to determine the Carbone stock potential and carbon emission reduction of the study areas.
The soil samples were analyzed for total nitrogen, exchangeable potassium, and available phosphorous and organic carbon. Total nitrogen of the soil was determined by the micro Kjeldhal procedure (Jackson, 1958). Organic carbon was determined by the Walkley and Black method (Walkley and Black, 1934). The organic matter content was obtained by multiplying the organic Carbon content with the factor 1.729 as described by Nelson and Sommers (1982). Available phosphorous content of the soil was determined by extracting the soil with 0.5 M NaHCO3 solution following the procedures of Olsen et al. (1954). Phosphorus in the extracts was determined by atomic Figure 7: Biomass and soil sampling design absorption spectrophotometer calorimetrically according to the molybdenum blue colour method of Murphy and Riley (1962). Exchangeable potassium was determined using a flame photometer after extracting the soil with 0.5 N ammonium-acetate. 7
Above and below ground biomass data was collected through arranging transect lines and developing a 400m2 size sample quadrants at 50m interval to each other. Each transacts were in average 200m apart according to the area topography. Then, above ground biomass of tree species was estimated using allometric equations of tropical dry deciduous forest developed by (Chave et al., 2014) as follows;
Where: AGB = Above Ground Biomass (kg/tree), p = Wood density, g/cm3, DBH = Diameter at Breast (DBH in ranging from 5-158 cm); H= Height (m). Below Ground Biomass (BGB) was also estimated using the allometric equation of (Cairns et al., 1997) as follows;
and the measures of central tendency such as means, standard deviations, and percentages were also derived from the respondents. Means and standard deviations were used for continues variables while frequencies and percentages were employed for categorical variables and nominal variables. Moreover, content analysis method was used to analyze data collected from FGD and key informants. Finally, analyzed data was presented in the form of tables and text paragraphs. 2.3.2. Experimental data analysis Soil physic-chemical properties for both bench terraced hillsides and their adjacent non bench terraced hillsides were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) by using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of SPSS version 20. The differences among means were tested by using least significant difference (LSD) test.
The AGB C was also calculated through assuming that the C content is 50% of the total AGB (Brown and Lugo, 1989) 2.3. Data Analysis 2.3.1. Survey Data After the data had been collected it was checked for completeness, consistency and accuracy on spot in the field. Then data was subjected to SPSS version 20 for completeness and consistency. In order to assess the ecological, social and economic impact in this study area, data were analyzed using descriptive statistics
3. RESULT AND DISCUSSIONS 3.1. Demographic and socio-economic characteristics The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of respondents are given in Table 1. The study result indicted that 73.8% of the respondents were male headed households and the rest 26.2% were female headed households. The lower percentage of females in the study might be a of less interest of female headed households to participate in the fruit producing cooperatives of the bench terraced areas. According to the responses of former female members who have withdrawn from the cooperatives and current beneficiaries of the cooperatives in May-Tuem kebele, the less labour contribution of females as compare to male members was especially due the fact that some activities, such as night guarding and managing water pump generators required hard labour. This has made female members to receive negative criticism from male members. They tell them that they don’t have equal contribution to the cooperative. Hence,female households showed less interest to actively participate in the cooperatives.
Moreover,73.8% of the respondents were married and the rest 16.7% and 9.5% of the respondents were single/unmarried and divorced, respectively. Married members were found to be better participants 9
or were found performing better in the cooperatives than single and divorced members, because their spouses or children can replace them in the activities of the cooperatives that require hard labour. The livelihood of most of the respondents (78.6%) are highly dependent on agricultural activities and some of the landless youths were involved in bee keeping cooperatives (11.9%) and Fruit cooperatives (2.4%). Out of the surveyed respondent’s majority of them (76.2%) practice mixed farming system (crop production and animal rearing).
This variation may be resulted due to less access of youths to land to participate in livestock rearing activities. Moreover, as it is indicated in table 2, farmers have 17 ± 12 years farming experience.
Table 1: Demographic and socio-economic dummy variables
The age, educational level and land size of respondents is given in Table 2. Age of the respondents vary from 20 to 62 years with an average of 37 ± 12, indicating that majority of the respondents lies in the age of working force. The educational level and land size of the surveyed households were averaged to 4 ± 4 and 0.49 ± 0.38 hectare, respectively. The average land holding in this study is much lower than the reports of Asfaw and Jabbar (2008), who reported 1.23 hectare per household. Moreover, as most of the respondents follow mixed farming system (Table 1), the average livestock holding per households was 2.38 ± 1.84 TLU, which is far below the average livestock holding of 4.46 TLU reported by Assfaw and Jabbar (2008) for the Tigray region. 10
Table 2: Demographic and socio-economic continuous variables
3.2. Short and long term Social, Economic and Ecological benefits of bench terrace 3.2.1. Social benefits of bench terrace
The data in Table 3 showed that 88.1% of the respondentâ€™s claimed bench terrace created new land for farming and made it accessible to youths, creating an opportunity to improve their livelihoods. Creating access to land to landless youth of the cooperative members in the bench terrace area could permanently result in positive social impacts. The technology and its impact has a potential to be scaled up to the rest part of hills and plateaus of the study areas and other kebeles. This could help to engage other additional landless youths and improve the livelihood of more landless youths and eventually contribute to the regions as well as the nation.
The result of this study indicated that, bench terrace intervention created an immediate positive impact on landless youths by providing temporary employment opportunity and helped to reduce their migration (Table 3). In addition to this, 100% of respondentâ€™s response showed that, implementation of the bench terrace created a positive attitude to the local farmers in adoption and using of new agricultural technologies which could enhance In addition to this, 85.7% of the the production and productivity of respondents claimed that, the their farming system (Table 3). bench terrace will have a long term potential to create a social cohesion and enhanced self-help among 11
the local community generally and within the landless youths particularly. This will enhance the cooperation and integration to establish economically viable cooperatives (Table 3). Moreover, the economic activities of the cooperatives in the bench terrace has created a positive social impact on the lower catchment of farm lands. As a result, farmers in the lower catchment area are cultivating fruits and vegetable, where they have observed and witnessed that the bench terrace practice has improved the availability of irrigation water potential to their land. Hence, this will help to boost agricultural production and productivity for future economic benefit of farmers (Figure 8). 3.2.2. Short and long term economic benefits of Bench terrace 18.104.22.168. Short term economic benefits The economic impacts of bench terrace and the need to foster the capacities to adapt changing climate condition and information that can increase farmers understanding of drought, flood and other climate hazards, as well as opportunities and options to inform adaptation were assessed in the project areas where bench terrace practiced. Farmers were asked if the bench terrace implementation was carried out at the interest of the community, and all respondents (100%) in both Kebeles agreed that the project
intervention was carried out at the interest of the community (Table 3). The short term benefits obtained from bench terrace included, job opportunities created during the bench terrace implementation and this was the chief selling point for the local community in general. The jobs created during the bench terrace implementation had solved problems of migration from their area for temporary Cash for Work (CfW) activities (Table 3). The data collected in this study indicated that during the bench terrace implementation, fruit producing cooperatives and community members have been benefited and were able to increase their income through Cash for Work activity during construction of the bench terraces. They were paid cash on average of ETB 50-80 per person per day. In addition to this, as a temporary income they were also producing and selling vegetables. According to data obtained from fruit producing cooperative in May Tuem bench terrace area, the cooperative has earned about ETB 30,000 from sale of vegetables harvested in 2016. Moreover, data collected from respondents indicated that, the income earned through Cash for Work activities during the bench terrace construction supported them and the community members of the kebeles to subsidize costs of agricultural inputs. Farmers were able to purchase with cash different agricultural inputs 12
such as, improved variety seeds, chemical fertilizer, pesticides as well as insecticiides. Similar study in Missouri reported that over the 1997-2007 decade, public and private investment in Soil and Water Conservation Program cost-shared practices totalled nearly $400 million and those investments led to business sales of over $500 million (FAPRI, 2008). According to FAPRIâ€™s report, over 1000 jobs created each year which resulted in nearly $80 million in labour income and over $110 million in property-type income.
Table 3: Impacts of project intervention to local communities
22.214.171.124. Long term economic benefits According to results of the study, currently local communities in the lower catchment farm lands are getting increased yields because of decreased floods and runoffs and improved water infiltration. Therefore, this is a good evidence to conclude that the likelihood of the local community to benefit economically in the long term is high. Similar to this study report, FAPRI (2008) indicated that constructing of terraces at farm level controls run off and will benefit the community by doubling their productivity in the long run as well. Additionally, the results of the survey show that, implementation of bench terrace, has also become a good source of animal feed. This can bring an economic benefit to the cooperative members either by integrating it with animal fattening initiatives through cut and carry system or by selling the fodder produced around and in the bench terrace to others (Table 5). The bench terracing practice has also a potential for fruit production. In Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem about 3.6 ha and 8.75 ha of land has been created due to the construction
of bench terraces. So far, 1157 fruit trees have been planted in both study areas (Table 4), with some fruit trees such as Papaya have started giving yields. The created land has potential to produce more fruits and vegetables in the future. Hence, in the long term the landless youths will benefit economically if they continue planting fruits and vegetables through implementing improved agronomic practices. 126.96.36.199. Potentials of Bench terraced areas for Fruit and Vegetable Production Data collected from FDGs with fruit producing cooperative members and Key Informants in May-Tuem bench terrace area indicated that, they have started earning income from fruits and vegetables that they have produced. The assessment made in the study area indicated that in 2016 they have earned about ETB 30,000 from sale of vegetables such as Onion and green paper in a single harvest time. This indicates that the area has a potential to benefit more youths, provided that they are fully engaged in fruit and vegetables production (Table 4).
Table 4: Horticultural crops grown and potential area of the study area
Source: REST, 2016; CST Soil and Water Conservation Report
Table5: Forage production and estimated gross profit from fattening
BW= body weight; TLU=Tropical livestock unit; 1TLU=250kg BW animal 3.2.3Ecological Benefits of Bench Terrace
Figure 8: Papaya and mango fruits on site (a) and (b) and onion seedlings and mango fruit off site(c and d) in May-Tuem project area 188.8.131.52. Potentials of Bench terraced areas for multipurpose forage Production To determine the potential of bench terraced areas on forage production, eight (08) sample quadrants each with 1m2 area were taken and the grass herbage biomass were harvested to determine the amount of forage produced on dry matter (DM) basis from each kebele. Thus, a total of 15,098 kg and 7,313Kg feed can be harvested from May-Tuem and Laelay-Logomty, respectively. For instance, if members of the cooperative at May-Tuem and Laelay-Logomty integrate the bench terrace farming activities with small scale fattening,only from
feed harvested during rainy season, they can earn about ETB 88,000 and 44,000 in gross profits from 22 TLU and 11 TLU, respectively (Table 5). Therefore in the long term, to diversify the source of income and improve the livelihood of landless youths sustainably, bench terraced areas can be integrated with other different farming system such as small scale fattening, dairy production and bee keeping.
Land degradation because of deforestation, soil erosion and incessant drought occurrence is a serious reason to agricultural production insufficiency and climate change confronts. Taking into account the land degradation problem as a major environmental and socio-economic problem, the Ethiopian government especially the regional government of Tigray has made several interventions to mitigate the problems of land degradation. Since then, huge areas have been covered with different soil and water conservation structures and millions of trees have been planted and then these interventions had been contributing differently in alleviating the age old problems of deforestation, soil erosion and moisture stresses. Bench terrace is an old practice of soil and water conservation practice in some parts of Ethiopia in traditional way. But, in its modern system (i.e. cut and fill method in hillsides) it is a new soil and water conservation practice and has
not yet scaled up to every district and kebele of the region except in limited areas such as in May-Tuem, Laelay-Logomty villages of Adwa district, in Kola tembien and AtsbiWenberta. Bench terrace structures constructed in May tume and Laelay-Logomty, have shown significant ecological improvement in terms of: increased vegetation species richness, improved biomass and biomass carbon, improved soil health, reduced run-off and flood hazards, minimized soil erosion and enhanced soil moisture. The details are as discussed underneath. 184.108.40.206. Species Abundance Species abundance or richness is the presence of individual plant species per a given area. It is one of the essence ecological components. The study indicated that species richness is higher in bench terraced hillsides than in their adjacent non bench terraced hillsides at the study areas (Figure 9). Species richness is higher by 83% 16
in bench terraced hillsides than the adjacent non bench terraced hillsides in Laelay-Logomty and by 133% in May-Tuem. The reason for high prevalence of species richness is due to the intervention of plantation of fruit trees, fodders and other multipurpose trees within the bench terraced hillsides. Moreover, the fencing of the bench terraced hillsides from livestock intervention supports fast regeneration capacities of plant species and this contributes to increase species abundance or richness. Moreover, the reason for the huge difference of species richness among bench terraced and non bench terraced hillsides of LaelayLogomty and May-Tuem areas is, naturally May-Tuem is dominated by acacia etibica, acacia tortolise and lantana camara species only, whereas in Laelay logomty there are different species even within the non bench terraced.
Figure 9: Species richness
220.127.116.11. Above and Below Ground Biomass and Biomass Carbon
Table 6: Mean (±SD) of tree and shrub biomass and Biomass carbon of Laelay-Logomty
The total dry biomass of woody trees and shrubs for both the study sites were ranged 3.89 – 1.31 ton ha-1 for the areas practiced with bench terraced hillsides while 0.16 - 0.23 ton ha-1 for the non bench terraced hillsides (Table 6 and 7). The Laelay-Logomty site had better in woody tree and shrub biomasses (3.89 ± 0.35-ton ha-1) (Table 6) followed by May-Tuem site (1.31 ± 0.32-ton ha-1) (Table 7) under bench terraced hillsides. Similarly, bench terraced hillsides have shown high significant difference (P < 0.001) on total biomass and biomass carbon stock of trees, shrubs and grass herbs than their adjacent non bench terraced hillsides both at Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem kebeles (Table 6, 7 and 8).
AGB=Above Ground Biomass; BGB=Below Ground Biomass; TB=Total Biomass; AGBC= Above Ground Biomass Carbon; BGBC= Below Ground Biomass Carbon; TBC= Total Biomass Carbon; SD=Standard Deviation
Table7: Mean (±SD) of tree and shrub species biomass and biomass carbon of and May-Tuem
AGB=Above Ground Biomass; BGB=Below Ground Biomass; TB=Total Biomass; AGBC= Above Ground Biomass Carbon; BGBC= Below Ground Biomass Carbon; TBC= Total Biomass Carbon; SD=Standard Deviation
Table8: Mean (ÂąSD) Grass herbs biomass, and Carbon stock of Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem
GHB= grass herbage biomass; GHBC= grass herbage biomass carbon; SD=Standard deviation All above ground biomass, below ground biomass and total biomass were comparatively higher in bench terraced hillsides than non bench terraced hillsides. The result indicates that conserved area with bench terrace has more potential to enhance vegetation regeneration and improve species composition and the findings generally indicated that bench terrace practice is the better option to improve ecological conditions of degraded lands. In similar case different studies reported that, increasing Above Ground Biomass (AGB) with extended ex-closures management and protection is a common attribute `of forest ecosystems (Wolde, 2013; Tesfay, 2009). The AGB in Tigray lowland (Wolde and Yami, 2013) and mid-highland (Kidaneet al., 2013) for 10 and 11 years old ex-closures was estimated to be 13 and 25.4 Mg ha-1, respectively. The total AGB and AGBC in each bench terraced hillsides of the study was found lower than those reports, while it shows significant increment comparing to the adjacent non bench terraced hillsides. This variation in AGB might 19
come from the difference in species type and management practices. In addition, the lower biomass content of this study site may be because of the early stage of bench terrace practice. Besides, in each of the study sites which are practiced with bench terrace, the estimated total biomass carbon stock was found higher and statistically significant (P < 0.001) compared with their adjacent non bench terraced hillsides (Table 6 and 7). This significant difference of biomass carbon among the bench terraced hillsides and non bench terraced hillsides may occur as a result of exclusion of grazers and human disturbances as well as intervention of plantation activities with different fruits, forage and other multipurpose trees and shrubs (Figure 10). The AGBC value of the two study sites was found to be lower than similar studies conducted in Degua-Temben (Wolde, 2013). This is because of the smaller age bench terrace hillside practice as compared to the other studies that resulted in smaller amount of biomass carbon content.
Figure 10: Differences in biomass between Bench terraced and non-bench terraced hillsides 18.104.22.168. Soil Quality Soil is a vital ecological resource that is not capable of being renewed on the human time scale (Liu et al., 2006). It has key roles in terrestrial ecosystems, for instance, as sources of available nutrients to plants, Maintenances in hydrological stability and biological diversity. It is the most effective resource for ensuring sufficient food supply to support life. That is why this research intended to assess the impact of bench terrace practices on improving soil health. The physico-chemical properties of the soil were analysed in laboratory as shown in Table 9 and 10 here underneath to determine the impact of bench terrace on soil quality.
Table 9: Soil Physico-chemical properties of Laelay-Logomty
EC=electrical conductivity; TN=total nitrogen; OM= organic matter; CEC=Cation exchange capacity; SOC=soil organic carbon; BD=bulk density
Table1 0: Soil Physico-chemical analysis of May-Tuem area closure
EC=electrical conductivity; TN=total nitrogen; OM= organic matter; CEC=Cation exchange capacity; SOC=soil organic carbon; BD=bulk density
Soil physical property Soil texture is the most determinant soil physical parameter, thus as the study shows texturally May-Tuem is sandy clay loam where as LaelayLogomty is silty clay loam (Figure 11). Both the study sites have suitable soil texture for agricultural practices especially suitable to grow fruit trees and vegetables because soils having such textural classes are well drained, have no Figure 11: Soil texture water logging effect, good nutrient and water holding capacity, well Soil chemical properties root movement as they are not The analysis of variance revealed that heavy clay and heavy sand. the pH and EC are not significantly Alike to texture, soil bulk density is affected by bench terrace practices. also among the vital soil physical Both study areas have moderate pH property that influences the entire and low EC ranging from 6.65-7 and root growth, infiltration, runoff and 0.35-0.44, respectively (Tables9 and erosion creation phenomenaâ€™s. 10). This result indicates that, soils Accordingly, the mean values of of the study areas are salt free and the soil bulk density under bench neutral in reaction which is suitable terraced hillsides are significantly for nutrient holding and agricultural lower than their adjacent non practices. The other soil chemical bench terraced hillsides (p < 0.001) properties (SOC, total Nitrogen, and (p < 0.05) in Laelay-Logomty available P, exchangeable K, and CEC) and May-Tuem, respectively were significantly higher (P <0.05) (Table 9 and 10). This smaller with bench terraced hillsides than non bulk density at areas practiced bench terraced hillsides both at Maywith bench terrace was due to the Tuem and Laelay-Logomty (Tables 9 accumulation of organic matter and 10) from liters of woody,shrub and grass herbs and due to hoard of organic The relative increment in SOC, total matter rich topsoil as of erosion via nitrogen, available P, exchangeable, bench terrace structure. Moreover, K, and CEC with bench terraced the high amount of bulk density hillsides than the adjacent non bench at non bench terraced hillsides terraced hillsidesis resulted from perhaps due to the trampling effect the management, establishment and of livestock during grazing and subsequent increased organic matter washing away of top soil by runoff input derived from herbaceous and and remain with compacted hard grass biomass and from reduced soil erosion through effective ground pan. 22
cover and construction of bench terrace as indicated in Figure 12. Moreover, soil CEC is positively associated with increment of organic matter colloids, which renders soils to have a better CEC. Higher values of exchangeable cations could be attributed to the nutrient cycling role.
Table 11: Ecological threats before bench terrace intervention at study areas
NB: L means Laelay and M Means May to indicate the first word of the two kebele names Besides this,from 10 years back satellite photo interpretation before bench terrace implementation also supported respondentsâ€™ justification, which clearly shows that there were deforestation, sheet erosion, gully erosion, siltation of downstream cultivated lands (Figure 13).
Figure 12: Bench terrace practices in the study areas 22.214.171.124. Land degradation and Soil Erosion Soil erosion, downstream sedimentation and flooding which are caused by continuous anthropogenic burdens in natural resource are the severe problems in Ethiopia particularly in Tigray. These problems reduce agricultural productivity, affect infrastructure expansion and then finally harm the socio-economic situation of the community. The study indicated that, ecological threats like deforestation, soil erosion, flooding and sedimentation of downstream were severe in the two study areas before bench terrace intervention. As illustrated in table11 below, the response of the respondents indicated that there were land degradation, flooding and sedimentation problems before bench terrace was constructed. 100% of the respondents indicated that there was severe deforestation problem and consequences of soil erosion in both study areas (at Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem kebeles) (Table 11). Moreover, about 65% of the respondents have also expressed that there were flooding and sedimentation of downstream (cultivated land, springs, reservoirs and settlements) at both study areas before the intervention (Table11). 23
Figure 13: Soil texture
To evade deforestation, soil erosion, runoff /flood, downstream siltation and other ecological threats, government and none governmental organizations have made massive attempts in soil and water conservation, afforestation, plantation and universal land management practices in Tigray, and so promising ecological improvements have also been achieved. Laelayâ€“Logomty and May-Tuem Kebeles of Adwa district are among the areas that have got the chance of implementing an integrated land management practices (i.e. bench terrace) with a support from CST. According to the study 85-100% of the respondents assured that there are promising onsite ecological improvements (improved vegetation cover, reduced soil loss, improved soil infiltration capacity, improved soil fertility and increased water quantity) (Table12). In addition to this, 100% of the respondents have indicated that off-site ecological improvement has been observed (reduced damage on neighbor fields, reduced downstream flooding, reduced downstream siltation, improved soil moisture) at both study areas (Table 11).
Table12: Short and long term ecological improvements after bench trace implementation
Figure 14: Weaknesses in maintenance and protection of bench terraced areas Moreover, all respondents (100%) in both Kebele of the study villages replied that there is improvement of micro climate of the environment after the project intervention (Table 3). 3.3. Best practices and strengths of bench terrace implementation
L means Laelay and M Means May to indicate the first word of the two kebele names
Data collected from FGD and Key Informants indicated that,there was a good cooperation and integration among the local government, REST and the local communities for the successful accomplishment of the bench terrace construction. Accordingly, to reduce run-off, the local government had allocated ETB 107,000 for construction of integrated SWC structures (deep trench, percolation ponds, hill side
terraces and trench terraces). REST has also funded for similar SWC practices (cut off drain, bench terrace, and deep trench and above ground tanker) via paying ETB 50-80 per person per day. Beyond the financial support REST has also provided materials support such as water pumps. On the other hand, the local community was also contributing free labour in addition to the payment they received from the government and REST during the bench terrace construction. In general, every community member in the region is expected to contribute free labour for 40 days in a year for rehabilitation of degraded lands. 26
Data obtained from respondents, from the field observation and key informants, has indicated that the study areas are near water sources. Hence, according to discussion made with Adwa REST field office and key informants, the reason for the project intervention/bench terrace practice in the two kebeles was due to existence of large dam in Laelay-Logomty Kebele and river diversion near to the watersheds in May-Tuem. Existence of those opportunities created access to water for the fruit producing cooperatives. The bench terraced area in Laelay-Logomty uses water from constructed canal/inland passing through the terrace and bench terraced area in My-Teaum uses water from river diversion by uplifting and relay system. In May-Tuem site, making water accessible on its above catchment was a bit challenging. However, it was easy for the Adwa REST filed office to come up with best innovative idea. The experts dealt with by introducing water lifting and relay system to the bench terrace from river around 1km distant (Figure 15). Thus, the relay water uplifting system in MayTuem kebele is an innovative technology, which one of the best practice experience of the project.
Figure 15: Relay water uplifting (May-Tuem)
Generally, results of this study show that basically with the project intervention and the bench terrace implementation there was a strong commitment from the local communities for their labour contribution. This integration of sectors and the community is crucial element for sustainability of the project and stability of the structures. 3.4. Social and Economic challenges of landless youths Data obtained from Focus Group Discussions, Key Informants and beneficiaries in the study area,it was indicated that landless youths had social constraints and challenges such as low level of agricultural technology adaptation capacity. As a result, proper irrigation development practices in the study area were found to be poor. Respondents from beneficiaries and communities who are around the bench terrace were asked to express their opinions about the challenges which they faced before the intervention. Accordingly, on average about 97.6% of the respondents (100% in LaelayLogomty and 95% in May-Tuem have agreed that there is lack of land access in their kebele, which became a challenge for the youth to build sustainable economic development (Table 13). According to the results of the study, respondents have also indicated that access to land, especially for the new generation (the youth) is a serious challenge. This challenge is forcing the local community in
general and the youths in particular to depend their livelihoods on using of natural resources (clearing forest trees for timber and charcoal and selling them), which leads to deforestation. In similar case study conducted by Foley et al. (2005) indicated that as with demographic and economic transitions due to lack of land access for cultivation, societies would appear to follow a sequence of different land use regimes through deforesting from pre-settlement natural vegetation to frontier clearing, then to subsistence agriculture and smallscale farms, and finally to intensive agriculture and using on the natural resources. Therefore, shortage of land access could be a challenge to sustainable social and economic development as well could be a cause for ecological disturbance. Similarly, most (95.2%) of the respondentsâ€™ claimed that, having high level of unemployment is a serious challenge in the study areas because of increase in population number from time to time. As a result landholding of farmers per person is diminishing from time to time. As it is indicated in the study, average landholding per person is 0.49 hectare (Table 13). Data collected from Key Informants and FGDs also indicated that, due to the high level of unemployment in the district, youths are migrating from rural areas to urban areas and even to Middle Eastern countries for job searching. This is becoming a threat for the agricultural sector to face labour constraints in long 28
term. This finding is similar to the study conducted by Min-Harris (2010) that most rural youth in Sub Saharan Africa are affected by poverty and as a result of this challenges they migrate either to cities or other countries for job searching, which is considered as a coping mechanism to escape from poverty.
for the agricultural practices in general and to the bench terraces in particular due to the youths are very interested and attracted to engage in short term income generating activities and then they could go to cities and other countries. As the data collected from the FGD and Key Informants as well as the beneficiaries indicated that According to the study, 76.2% of number of youth who are currently the respondents agreed that youth participating in the cooperative is migration is still a serious challenge reducing from time to time.
Table 13: Constraints and challenges which face to landless youths
3.5. Management and institutional setup of the cooperatives As the data obtained from FGDsâ€™ and respective Key Informants of Adwa REST field office and Adwa Agriculture and Rural Development Office, the bench terrace implemented at each study site were given for fruit producing cooperatives. However, after the bench terraced site was rehabilitated and recovered its forest cover, another beekeeping cooperative was established in Laelay-Logomty. Thus, there were two cooperatives in LaelayLogomty kebele which are one fruit producing cooperative with 15 members and one beekeeping cooperative with 20 members. In May-Tuem kebele there is only one fruit producing cooperative with 15 members. This study indicated that, some members of the fruit producing cooperative were found to be not interested to continue working with their cooperatives. The institutional setup of the fruit producing cooperatives was found to be very weak andwas not operating under the given set of principles of the cooperative. This has greatly affected its growth and development. The landless youths particularly the members of the cooperatives had shown weak performance in strengthening their cooperative. According to the data collected from Key Informants, it was intended to benefit youths who completed grade ten but, who do not
have permanent job opportunity or land or who couldnâ€™t advance to the next higher educational level. However, as respondents indicated, members were found to be at varied educational levels. Some youths were elementary school students, while others were students were at grade ten and above. There were also University students who are not currently living in their kebeles. This means that some are under aged and living with their parents, some are in colleges living out of their village and some others are truly landless and living in their village. Hence, the study shows that the cooperative management was greatly challenged by nonexistence of equal labour contribution, joint planning and collective action taking. As the respondentsâ€™ opinion indicates, there was poor capacity of enforcing the bylaws of the cooperatives. Accordingly,the sense of ownership to their cooperative was found to be poor. Hence, those varied background and reduced interest of members could lead to weak membership contribution and low sense of ownership in their cooperatives. As a result, members currently working on the bench terrace might lose interest too and give attention to temporary or short term income generation than to the long term benefits. This shows that management and institutional setup of the cooperatives has been challenged.
4. Existing gaps and challenges in practical implementation of bench terracing Bench terrace practice is labour intensive and costly. Moreover, its economical return is in the long term,especially for fruit production. Hence, landless youths engaged in fruit producing cooperatives were more interested to get short term income rather than the potential long term incomes. Based on the study, about 64.3% of the respondents said that there was lack of societal equity or sense of ownership to the bench terrace, because of drawbacks in following the directions and guidelines of cooperative establishment (Table 13). Data collected from the study area has indicated that, the bench terraced hillsides were not transferred to true landless youths based on their interest and willingness. According to the study, it was observed that the kebele leaders favoured nepotism in the establishment of the cooperatives. This was found to be a cause for unequal labour contribution to activities on the bench terrace leading to poor management and institutional set up of the cooperatives. Additionally, a majority of respondents (64.3%), which is 59.1% from Laelay-Logmty and 70% from My-Tuem have agreed that cooperative members received very little service from development
agents and agricultural experts (Table 13). The main reason for this problem is due to engagement of development agents and experts in temporary and recurrent government programs. Study conducted in Uganda by Ahaibwe et al. (2013) indicated that extension service provides agricultural and vocational training on the use of fertilizer, insecticides, improved seeds, veterinary drugs, land use practices, and market information among others. Some farmers were purposively exercising free grazing on the bench terraced areas (Figure 14). According to the study, 88.1% of the respondents agreed that free grazing is a common practice in their locality (Table 14). About 69% of respondent believed that, awareness of the community towards bench terrace in terms of conserving or protecting it from animal interferences is very low, which was basic challenge and threat to the bench terrace area.
Table 14: Existing gaps and challenges in practical implementation of bench terracing Variables and opinion of respondents on the opportunities and challenges
In addition to this, respondents indicated that unavailability of fodder (industrially processed or raw) to their animals in their area was also a cause to exercise free grazing on the communal lands (Table 14). The other problems for free grazing are low awareness level of community on the indoor management of animals and violation of local bylaws set to stop free grazing. As the animals cause damage to the structures and plantations on the bench terrace, landless youths will get
discouraged to practice irrigation and other activities area. In similar case study conducted byYami et al. (2013)natural resources like communal grazing lands are source of conflicts, which are part of the basics to the local communities of Ethiopia, as individuals compete for scarce resources that social groups perceive themselves as having incompatible interests and in most cases farmers violate to their bylaws.
5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Conclusion Initially, farmers were reluctant to adopt bench terracing, because they were using this land for free grazing. Since land is communally owned property, the community initially preferred to keep the land for grazing. However, after repeated discussion made with REST and the local government offices, the community understood what the benefits would be for the landless youths they agreed to support implementation of the bench terraces practices. According to the finding of the study most of (97.6%) respondentâ€™s said that, lack of land access in the kebele is a major economic challenge in the district. Similarly, most of (95.2%) the respondents indicated that having high level of unemployment and low level of extension service support are serious challenges to the landless youth in Adwa district.
feeds and feed processing factories and unavailability of strong bylaws for managing closure areas. These existing gaps and challenges were found to be discouraging for the youths to work on the bench terraces.
The result obtained from the study indicated that intervention of project in the two kebeles on hillside bench terrace practices created positive social impact like adoption of irrigation practices and short term economic benefits. It created job opportunities for the local communities through payment of cash for their work on the bench terrace. The bench terrace in both study areas had been providing a long term social benefits by decreasing floods and runoffs and has improved water infiltration to the lower catchment farm lands which areoff-site. It has created suitable condition for In this study, most (76.2%) of beekeeping; fodder production; respondents claimed that high fruit and vegetable production; and level of youth migration and low cereal production. level of awareness towards the It is observed that farmers are technology/bench terrace are the cultivating vegetables in the existing social gaps. On average lower catchment area where they 88.1% of respondents indicated that believe the bench terrace practice free grazing is a common practice has improved the irrigation water in their kebeles and they have also potential of their land. indicated that they have observed Existence of strong cooperation and animals interference on the bench integration among stakeholders terraces. According to respondents, (communities, local government there is also shortage of feed and REST field office) and innovative both in quantity and in quality, idea of uplifting and relay watering unavailability of supplementary system to the upper catchment of 33
the bench terrace are best practices enhance infiltration; enhance of the intervention. soil water holding capacity and The organizational set up and reduce runoff. Moreover, reduced management skill of the cooperative surface run off, reduced soil loss, increased soil water infiltration, members was also found weak. Ecologically, this study has shown increased ground water discharge promising improvements regarding and increased soil moisture species abundance, biomass, are the other onsite ecological biomass carbon, soil fertility (soil benefits of the bench terrace bulk density, soil organic matter, intervention. Reduced downstream total N, available P, exchangeable K sedimentation and downstream and soil cation exchange capacity). flooding are also the offsite A total of 6.28 and 3.34 tha-1 of ecological benefits obtained from biomass and 32.14 and 28.34 tha-1 the bench terrace intervention. of ecosystem carbon (including soil Since the project areas were degraded hillsides, carbon) were obtained from bench severely farmers and landless youths did not terraced hillsides at Laelay-Logomty and May-Tuem, respectively. Such expect to see the impact (ecological within short amount of biomass and biomass improvements) period of time. Currently however, carbon was at age of four years old of the intervention, which is too these areas have been changed infant. Thus, this shows that it will and became ecologically treated, have large potential to bring impact socially valued and economically on reducing carbon emission in the potential sites. The hillside bench terrace practices became lesson future. to farmers, experts, extension Both study sites (Laelay-Logomty workers, researchers, local leaders and May-Tuem) have silty clay and policy makers, as it is best way loam and sandy clay loam texture. of changing severely degraded into This shows that the soils are productive use. agriculturally sound textural class. They are especially suitable to grow 5.2 Recommendation fruit trees and vegetables, because they are well-drained, none logging, â€˘ REST, District Agriculture office and have good nutrient content and community leaders at each kebele, should water holding capacity and easy provide continuous monitoring and for root movement. Bench terrace advisory support to the fruit producing lowers the soil bulk density as cooperatives. compared to non bench terraced area. The soils in the bench terrace â€˘ Low level of awareness towards the areas have high organic matter benefit of bench terrace and an attempt accumulation making the soil of free grazing within the bench terraced squashy. This makes the soil to be areas, were found to be major challenges more porous; promotes root growth; in this study. Therefore, REST field office 34
and local government should provide awareness creation trainings to the community about social, economic and ecological benefits of bench terrace practice. Cooperative members also need to be advised in which economic activities that they should focus on. In addition to this, local government needs to strengthen the local by-laws put in place on the management of the bench terraced area and strictly follow its enforcement.
According to the study, low extension service support to the cooperatives was one of the challenges of the bench terrace practice. Since fruit trees take long time to mature and begin production, the youths need to get timely advice (based on their interest) and support to concentrate on production of vegetables. This will help the cooperative members to earn revenue on seasonal basis and will make them stay working on the bench terrace. Looking for appropriate or capable extension service providers is also something important to consider. Accordingly for knowledge transfer, collaboration among higher learning institutions such as TVET centres, universities, development practitioners, government partners must also be considered.
• Strong cooperation and integration among local community, local government and REST field office and the innovative idea of water uplifting in relay system to upper catchment of the bench terrace were found to be best practices. Therefore, the regional government in collaboration with nongovernmental organizations should focus on encouraging and scaling up of those best practices of bench terrace 35
implementation in to other districts. This will help to solve the challenges of migration at least by providing job opportunity in the short term through cash for work and production of vegetables and facilitating the ground for future long term economic benefits through fruit production
The management and institutional setup of the cooperatives in this study was found to be weak. According to the study, the cooperatives had no strong bylaws put in place and problem of enforcing what they already have decided; there was no equal labour contribution by members; and there was low sense of ownership among members of the cooperatives. Therefore, the local government should focus on re-organizing or strengthening the cooperatives based on the interest of the youths. It is advisable if members of the cooperatives to have similar educational backgrounds and are of in similar age group. Training members on cooperative management and leadership must also be considered.
• Continuous technical training on bench terrace should be provided to cooperative members, communities, experts and other stakeholders. • To reduce destruction of bench risers, construction of bench terrace should be supported by biological NRM measures such as plantation of multipurpose trees and grasses. • Beneficiaries should regularly maintain damaged structures and protect the area from animal interference. • It should be integrated with ecologically sound income earning activities such as beekeeping, dairy production and fattening.
• Beyond creating land access to landless youths, bench terrace is a fundamental land management practice to rehabilitate degraded hillsides. This has a great contribution to reduce carbon emission and combat climate change. Therefore, the regional government and other partners should focus to scale up and scale out the practice to other areas. •
Though bench terraces have shown imperative ecological improvements in the study area, there are limitations such as livestock interference and destruction of bench risers. Therefore; 36
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