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Title: Improved decision-making for achieving triple benefits of food security, income and environmental services through modeling cropping systems in the Ethiopian Highlands
Authors: Amede, Tilahun
Delve, Robert
Date: 2006
Publisher: AHI, Kampala, UG
Series/Report no.: AHI working paper / African Highlands Initiative; no. 20
Abstract: Food security in the enset-based Ethiopian highlands is constrained mainly by land degradation, land fragmentation and limited access to technologies and skills. Enset (Enset ventricosum) is a perennial herb with edible corm, supporting about 13 million people in Ethiopia. A household survey, supported by field measurements, was conducted over three years (2000–2002) with 24 representative farmers to identify their production objectives and to quantify their available land resources, cropping system, crop yields and market price, for developing models to facilitate their decision making. Farmers identified three major production objectives depending on their household priorities, socio-economic status and resource base. In Scenario I, farmers were primarily interested in producing enough food from their farm. In Scenario II, they wanted food security and to fulfill their financial needs. In Scenario III, farmers were interested solely in generating cash income, regardless of its effect on food production. On average, the current cropping system is deficit in most nutritional components, and fulfils only 72%, 40%, 35%, 33%, & 25 % of the energy, protein, calcium, zinc and VitA of the recommended daily allowances (RDA), respectively. More over, the net cash income of the current production system was 624 Ethiopian birr cu-1 yr-1. Using an optimization model it was possible to fulfill Scenario I by reducing the land area allocated to sweet potato, coffee, wheat and legumes by 11%, 45%, 22% and 63%, respectively and increasing the land area of enset (from 9 to 17%) and kale (from 2.4 to 7.6%). To satisfy Scenario II, there was a need to increase the proportion of coffee, potato, beans and enset by 30, 15, 8 and 3%, respectively, over the current land allocation. This shift would double the cash income, to 1200 birr cu-1 yr-1. Scenario III was fulfilled by full replacement of the cereals and root crops by coffee (80.2%) and teff (19.8%), which would generate 2012 birr cu-1 yr-1. This option drastically reduced household food production. The change from current production systems to Scenario I offers high quality livestock feed, while Scenario III offers low quality livestock feed whereby about 84% of the feed is coming from coffee husk. Moreover, a shift from the current system to Scenario I would not have any effect on the level of soil erosion, while a shift to Scenario II and III will reduce soil erosion by about 39 and 52%, respectively, mainly as a result of expansion of the area of perennial crops.
Project Number: 101592
Project Title: African Highlands Resource Management - Phase III
Access: IDRC Only
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