Land is a scarce resource in the highlands of Ethiopia. Its sustainable use is highly affected by bio-physical and institutional factors. The purpose of this research is to investigate farmers' perceptions about land quality, land fragmentation and tenure systems and their influences on sustainable land management (SLM) investments in the North Western Ethiopian Highlands.
The study is based on a detailed farm survey among 300 households and 1,700 parcels in three watersheds. Simple descriptive statistics were applied to analyse the perception of farmers about land-related factors. A multivariate probit (MVP) model was used to analyse the effect of land-related factors on the interdependent investment decisions of SLM practices (Bunds, Compost/Manure and Fertilizer) using a multiple parcel-level survey. The study shows that on average, sample households managed 4·54 parcels in different locations with an average parcel size of 0·26 ha. The MVP model analysis indicates that farmers invest a combination of practices at parcel level by considering substitution and complementarity effects of the practices. The results also reveal how land quality (e.g. slope and soil fertility status), land fragmentation (parcel size and distance of parcel from homestead) and tenure arrangements influence farmers' investments in SLM practices. The overall results indicate that farm land attributes promote or hinder investments, and tenure systems regulate the decisions about investments. Policy makers should take into consideration these various land-related factors in designing and implementing SLM policies and programmes.
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