Article Index

Bio-physical Resources, Socio-economy and Environmental Governance under a Changing Climate in Different Agro-ecologies of Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia

PIs: Endalew Addis (Ph.D.) et al., 2020

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Executive Summary

This study has explored the bio-physical resources, socio-economy, and environmental governance under a changing climate in different agro-ecologies of Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia in three sub-components. The first sub-thematic research deals with the effects of climate variability and changes on bio-physical resources, mainly on land, soil, water, and vegetation and its ecosystem, analyzing the effects of land use land cover change on water, biomass and soil organic carbon stocks, and its association with climate change. The second sub-thematic research deals with the socio-economic effect of climate change and its adaptation strategies by assessing the climate variability and change context, examining the effect of climate variability and change on the livelihoods, food security, health, water security, etc of the local community in the districts, exploring gender-differentiated vulnerability and resilience to climate change effects, and investigating the adaptation strategies for climate variability/change. The third sub-thematic research addresses the roles of policies, local institutions, and public participation for climate change adaptation in lowland, midland, and highland agro-ecologies by analyzing the climate change policy framework, assessing the role of local institutions for climate change adaptation, and examining the role of public participation in climate change adaptation.

The study covers three districts, namely Borecha, Dale, and Hula, which were selected purposively from lowland, midland, and highland agro-ecologies, respectively, from 2017-2019. A total of 700 households were selected randomly and proportionately after stratifying households by wealth ranking into poor, medium, and model farmers in each kebele. Secondary data analysis, key informant interviews, focus group discussion, field observations, and survey research are employed to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Data for land use/land cover change were derived from time-series Landsat satellite images from 1985 to 2018 and field survey. Monthly rainfall, temperature and discharge flow were collected from the Ethiopian Meteorological Agency and Ministry of Water and Energy for 33 years (1983-2014). Subsequently, qualitative information is analyzed using thematic and content analysis, whereas quantitative data is analyzed using STATA Software. More specifically, soil and biomass data were analyzed both in the field and in the laboratory. Soil carbon was measured after the collection of 450 samples for analysis of bulk density, texture, and carbon concentration, and above-ground biomass was measured using appropriate allometric equations. Secondary data is also analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Sub-thematic research I results showed that climatic variability in rainfall and temperature affects the streamflow amount in a catchment with a significant decrease in the main rainy season though there is no significant change in the dry season flow. The result of temperature analysis revealed that the catchment is getting warmer. There was also a significant change in land-use systems in the catchment in the past three decades in which agricultural land increased by 26.58%, 54.75% and 18.04% from 1985 to 2018 in Dale, Hula, and Boricha areas, respectively. Moreover, the forest coverage shows a significant decrease by 37.43% and 34.78% in upper and lower stream areas, respectively, the shrubland in the lower stream area reduced by 31.8%, and the grassland declined by 52.59%, 33.18% and 59.5% in upper, middle and downstream areas respectively within the time range. The land-use change affects the soil carbon stock of both above-ground and below-ground biomass. Soil organic carbon stock and biomass were found higher under natural forest though soil carbon stock has a decreasing trend with soil depth in all agro-ecologies. More importantly, it was found that mean SOC stock under natural forest was 38.6% more than grassland, followed by the Eucalyptus plantation (32.4%), agricultural land (25.4%), and agroforestry (14.7%) in Hulla woreda.  This shows that land use cover change has a high impact on soil carbon and biomass, and water resources, and climate variability over a catchment.

Sub-thematic research two results showed that climate change has effects on livelihood, food, water, and energy security. As to livelihoods, climate change affects human, social, natural, physical, and financial capital. In relation to food security, climate change causes both transient and chronic food insecurity. Regarding water and energy security, climate change affects both the availability of water and energy sources. Accordingly, there is gender-differentiated vulnerability since climate change affects men and women differently. This is because livelihood assets are still under the control of males, especially in male-headed households, and in intra-household analysis, women are the ones who are differently affected by food, water, and energy insecurities since they are the ones who are going to be served after the men are satisfied, and the culture also expects women to fulfill the demands of water and energy of the household. Moreover, if there is any shortage of food, water and energy, women are affected more since they are expected to fulfill the food, water and energy demands of the household. As a result, soil and water conservation, water harvesting, changing crop varieties, intercropping, changing planting date, irrigation, livestock diversification, livelihood diversification, and migration are practiced in the study areas as adaptation strategies. However, these adaptation strategies should be gender-sensitive as the adaptive capacity of men and women is different.

Sub-thematic research three results showed that different public policies/programs/strategies such as Environmental Policy, National Adaptation Plan of Action, Growth and Transformation Plan, Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, and Climate Resilient Strategy for Agriculture & Forestry are formulated to address climate change in addition to other various issues. These policies have played their respective roles for climate change adaptation. However, key informants and focus group discussion participants have pointed out that these policies are formulated at the top without the involvement of local stakeholders. As a result, they are not aware of the contents of those policies and not implementing at their maximum potential. Moreover, local government institutions, mainly agricultural offices, environmental protection and forestry development offices, water resource development offices, health and financial institutions, are contributing for climate change adaptation in different ways though they lack integration among those sectors. Furthermore, civil society organizations like local and international non-governmental organizations and community-based institutions such as Idir and cooperatives are playing a great role in climate change adaptation. In relation to this, key informants and focus group discussion participants have argued that public participation takes place at households, women groups, youth groups and cooperatives levels to adapt to climate change through soil and water conservation, communal natural resources conservation and utilization water harvesting, and planting trees.  

This shows that climate variability/change has affected the biophysical resources, which have different socio-economic effects in general and gender-differentiated vulnerability in particular. Thus, there should be appropriate and gender-sensitive adaptation strategies, policies, local institutions, and active public participation to minimize the effects of climate change and optimize the practice of adaptation strategies.

Enhancing crop-livestock synergy for food and nutrition security in Sidama Zone of Southern Ethiopia

PIs: Dr. Girma Abera et al., 2021

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Executive Summary

This thematic research project was implemented in three districts of the Sidama region to explore crop-livestock integration and enhance future synergy. To this effect, household surely was first conducted to characterize the smallholder farmers and identify gasps. To respond to the various crop-livestock production constraints, several field experiments and on-station research were executed across Boricha, Dore Bafano, Loka Abaya, and Hawassa University Research and Farm Center.

Soil fertility degradation is the prime constraint due to continuous cultivation with low/no external input and crop residue removal. Proper fertilizer management is an important issue to maintain soil fertility and to enhance the nutrient use efficiency of crops. Scientific information is limited with regard to the response of maize to fertilizer micro-dosing technology in the study area. To this effect, the field experiment was conducted during the 2016/2017-2017/2018 cropping seasons on farmer’s field at Loka Abaya districts. The study was undertaken with the objective of determining the effect of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer micro dozing on the yield and agronomic performance of maize. The treatments consisted of control, micro-dosing treatments (50, 75 and 100% of recommended dose of nitrogen and phosphorus, 100% rNP), and 100% rNP applied by banding method.

The experiment was set up in randomized complete block design with three replications. The analysis of variance indicated that the application method with different rates of fertilizer significantly (p<0.05) affected plant height, cob length, stand count, number of grain per cob, and hundred kernel weight, grain and Stover yields. Overall, fertilized plots Stover yield was improved by 54.8 and 75.9% over the control plots, respectively in 2016 and 2017, while average grain yield was improved by 83.0 and 149.9%, respectively in 2016 and 2017. Band method application of 100% rNP was resulted in significantly (p<0.05) higher maize plant height, cob length, hundred kernel weight, Stover and grain yields over other treatments except 100% rNP applied by a micro-dose method. Thus, the band applied 100%rNP improved grain yield by 52 and 66% in 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, respectively over the control, while Stover yield was improved by 69.9% and 90.3% in 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, respectively. Overall, the study revealed that the micro-dosing method of fertilizer application may not be relevant in such areas where there is sufficient rain fall and heavy soils. Therefore, the application of 100% rNP by band method

Where arable land shortage is a critical constraint, intercropping legumes with cereals could be a promising option for the sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems. Intercropping reduces environmental risks, such as erosion, nutrient depletion and leaching prevalent in monoculture systems. Choice of proper time and frequency of intercropping of common bean with maize determines system productivity. Double common bean intercropping with maize enhances productivity and contributes to improving farmers’ nutritional security during the whole growing season through diversified food production. Declining productivity and scarcity of cultivable land in smallholder systems call for exploring sustainable intensification options to increase productivity. Field experiments were conducted at five sites (site 1–5) situated in three locations (Boricha, Loka Abaya and Hawassa Zuria districts) of Sidama region, southern Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019 to determine the effects of cropping systems on maize and common bean productivity. Simultaneous, relay and double bean intercropping with maize were evaluated with monocropping of the components in randomized complete block design with four replications. Most of the maize and common bean agronomic parameters were significantly (p<0.01) affected by cropping system, sites, cropping systems* sites, and site * year interactions. In specific, the results revealed that cropping systems affected both maize and bean yields, although the degree varies with sites. The highest average maize (7.2 t ha-1) and bean (3.6 t ha-1) grain yields were obtained at site 5, while the lowest at site 4. The highest maize yields were recorded in fertilized sole maize at sites 1, 3 and 5, and in relay and double bean intercropping at sites 2 and 4, respectively. The lowest maize yields were obtained in unfertilized sole maize in most sites. The highest bean yields were obtained in double common bean monocropping at sites 1, 2 and 5, whereas the lowest in relay intercropping. Total LER ranged from 1.02–2.56 at site 1 and site 3, respectively, with relay bean–maize intercropping. The results demonstrate that intercropping (simultaneous, relay, and double) was advantageous as total LER values were greater than 1 in all sites. Overall, double bean intercropping had more economic benefit exceeding others by an average of 15%. Therefore, farmers could benefit more from maize-common bean intercropping systems in areas where the rainy season is sufficiently long to grow long-season maize.

Another field experiment was conducted at three locations in southern Ethiopia, namely Dore, Boricha, and Loka Abaya, during the 2019 cropping season. The field experiments were conducted in two experimental sites at each location. Treatments consisted of twelve treatments: sole N1 (46 N kg ha-1) and N2 (69 N kg ha-1), sole P1 (20 N kg ha-1) and P2 (30 N kg ha-1) and with one of the nutrients omitted (NP1, NP2, NK, and PK), two full NPK treatments (NPK1 and NPK 2), and a control treatment (no fertilizer application). The experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with four replicates. The results showed that nutrient omission experiments are very vital to understanding the role N, P and K nutrients across high maize production sites of the Sidama region. The maize responses varied across sites attributed to variation in soil properties, history of soil management, soil moisture content, and rainfall distribution during the crop growth. It is vital to closely evaluate the soil properties in order to provide essential macro-nutrients for profitable crop production. Applied nutrients resulted in a different grain and biomass yields across sites.  The highest maize grain (8.2 t ha-1) was obtained at site 3 of Boricha followed by site 4 of the same location. Whereas the lowest is at site 1 of Loka Abaya. Overall, the highest site average maize grain yield (8.16 t ha-1) was obtained at Boricha district, whereas the lowest (7.21 t ha-1) at Loka baya. In contrast, the highest Stover yields were obtained at Dore, followed by Boricha and Loka Abaya. Overall, the yield response for both grain and biomass of maize was tremendously high for study sites, implying soil fertility management has a substantial role for smallholder farmers to increase their production and productivity in a sustainable manner.

The potential for increased livestock production and productivity is proportionally lowered by various livestock management problems, the prevalence of major endemic diseases, poor feeding and high stocking rate on grazing lands, lack of support services such as extension services, veterinary services, insufficient data to plan improved services and inadequate information on how to improve animal breeding, marketing, and processing (Kedija et al., 2008).  In general, the livestock production system has not been studied in the study area with integrated to crop production. Haricot bean (phaseolus vulgaris L) and cow pea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) are commonly available in the study area, where farmers use its leaves and haulms as livestock feed mainly during dry season, contains good protein and could serve as a protein supplement and maize (Zea mays l.) is commonly grown in the area and its residue could serve as an energy supplement for livestock.

Thus, this study was undertaken to evaluate the livestock production system and the effect of supplementing cereal straw-based feeds with legume forages and haulms on the growth performance of sheep. A total of 171 households were selected by purposive random sampling from three districts to respond to a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. The sample comprised of 52, 58 and 61 households from Boricha, Loka Abaya and Hawassa Zuria districts respectively. The objective was to describe the livestock production system and its integration to crop production and to evaluate the effects of supplementing cereal straw-based feeds with legume forages and haulms on feed intake, digestibility, body weight gain and carcass characteristics of the animals. The interviews, direct observation, focus group discussion ,and experimental methods were practiced. Descriptive statics and ANOVA were used for analyzing survey and experimental parts respectively. The experimental study was conducted by using thirty male Arsi-Bale sheep with an average initial weight of 18.66±0.13kg. The experimental diets used as T1 maize Stover (300 gm), T2 cowpea hay (200 gm), T3 cowpea hay (400 gm), T4 haricot bean haulm (200 gm) and T5 Haricot bean haulm (400gm). The experiment consisted of 6 days of digestibility trial and 84 days of feeding trial followed by evaluation of carcass parameters at the end of the feeding period.

A completely randomized block design was used for the experiment. The experimental animals were allocated to the five treatments with six animals blocks based on their initial body weight, and each animal within each block was randomly assigned to one of the five treatment diets. The majorities, 90.7% of household heads, were males, and the rest 9.3% were female. The average family size of Boricha, Loka Abaya, and Hawassa Zuria were 5.9±0.3, 6.1±0.2, and 5.9±0.2respectively. The level of education show that 19.91%, 17.80%,46.46% and 15.85% was illiterate, read and write, elementary and high school respectively. The major livestock feed resource was maize Stover, cob, haricot bean haulm, pasture and wheat bran. In the study area livestock’s were used for food, income, manure, social and power purposes, and livestock products were the basic source of near-cash for HHs.100%, 97.9%, and 94.4% of HHs in Boricha, Loka Abaya and Hawassa Zuria districts, respectively were use crop residue as farm fertilizer by retaining crop residue at their farm lands during crop harvesting time. CP contents of maize Stover, cow pea hay, haricot bean haulm, Linseed cake, wheat bran, and maize grain were 3.1%, 15.9%, 7%, 18.4%, 20.5%, and 10.7%, respectively. The total DM intake was higher (p<0.05) for T2 and in the order T4 >T3> T1>T5.The DM, OM, CP, NDF and ADF digestibility was greater (p<0.05) for T2 than T1 > T4 > and T3 but values for T5 were lower with the other treatments. The total Dry matter intake, DM and nutrient digestibility, final body weight and average daily gain were significantly higher (P<0.05) in T2 than in other treatments Based on these results T2 (200g cowpea + 200g concentrate mixture +100g maize stover) could be recommended as good supplemented diet as experimental sheep.

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