Participatory conservation tillage research: an experience with minimum tillage on an Ethiopian highland Vertisol uri icon

abstract

  • Farmer participatory tillage trials were conducted in a highland Vertisol area of Ethiopia during the 1999 and 2000 cropping seasons. This participatory initiative clearly demonstrated that incorporating farmers' knowledge, ideas and preferences could improve the wheat production package. A traditional practice of Chefe Donsa farmers-applying ash from their homesteads to their fields to enable early-sown crops to withstand frost-led to the verification of the yield-enhancing effect of inorganic potassium fertilizer on wheat. Farmer adoption of a minimum tillage production system increased the gross margin of wheat production by US$ 132 per hectare-based on 1999 prices-relative to the traditional flat seedbed system. The minimum tillage system was characterized by a much lower level of soil manipulation relative to the traditional flat seedbed system, and, as a consequence, markedly reduced the total human labor and draft oxen requirements for wheat production. Thus, the minimum tillage system could be an effective intervention for soil conservation due to early-season vegetative cover of the soil surface. Also, the early crop harvest associated with the minimum tillage system was highly beneficial for small-holder farmers-since the early harvest coincided with the cyclical period of severe household food deficits and high grain prices in local markets. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2003
  • 2003
  • 2003