Empirical evidences from developing countries indicate that forest products play a significant role in rural livelihoods, particularly for the rural poor. Forests provide benefits in the form of wood, food, income, and watershed protection which enable people to secure stable and adequate food supply. However, deforestation and the resulting environmental degradation is a major problem in most African countries including Ethiopia. This is considered as one of the key factors challenging food security, community livelihood and sustainable development. Reports on the forest resources of Ethiopia are dominated by the alarming deforestation that goes on unabated and at an accelerating rate. The magnitude of deforestation and land degradation by far exceeds the conservation activities being carried out.
The current government of Ethiopia has been taking different measures to reduce poverty and improve the living standard of the people. The forest policy approved in 2007 clearly indicates agro-forestry development as one of the strategies designed to foster private forest development and conservation. Agro-forestry is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resources management system that, through integration of trees on farms and agricultural landscapes, diversifies and sustains production for increased social, economic, and environmental benefits for land users at all levels. By recognizing all these benefits, the forest policy also emphasizes the need to undertake studies on traditional and modern agro-forestry techniques, conduct evaluation for further improvement. However, empirical evidences that help policy makers evaluate the progress made and identify constraints in the technology adoption process are limited. Though there are some efforts made to understand the role and determinants of adoption of such technologies, there are little empirical evidences in the area of agro forestry which try to analyze and link farmers’ behavior with the various types of agro forestry technologies in Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. Therefore, the purpose of this research project is to analyze and understand why agroforestry technologies are not being taken up by examining factors that influence the adoption of agroforestry practices.
The necessary data for the empirical analysis will be obtained from the survey conducted in 2009 from a sample of 600 rural households. The survey has information on community level data and spatial data which will be used in the empirical analysis for this study. We will employ theoretical as well as econometric models to address the objective of the paper. We expect that the outcome of this research project will show the link between rural households’ behavior and adoption of different types of agro forestry technologies. The result will also help planners identify important measures needed to be taken in order to promote different types of agricultural technologies that will improve land productivity, reduce pressure on forests and hence improve the livelihood of the farmers. The findings of this research may also provide scientific evidence for other similar countries whose livelihood depends mainly on agriculture and natural resources such as forests.