Agroforestry adoption and diffusion – a doctoral research in Ethiopia

Acacia decurrens at different stages of growth

Acacia decurrens at different stages of growth (© Amare)

Hi, my name is Dagninet Amare. I come from Amhara Region, Ethiopia and I am doing my doctoral thesis on agroforestry practices in Ethiopia; looking at it from the lens of the innovation system and farm level analysis. Last summer (July 10 until August 25) I conducted a preliminary survey as part of the research to identify the sites and innovations for the first phase of data collection. Here are some insights from my field work.

 

During this preliminary survey, three agroforestry innovations (innovation here is understood as a practice considered new to a certain area) were selected. The innovations (namely; Eucalyptus camaldunesis, Yushine alpine and Acacia decurrens) are found in 3 districts of Amhara region of Ethiopia.

The survey included secondary data collection at the district level from reports, as well as personal discussion with head and deputy heads of the districts agricultural offices, natural resource experts and experts who have been involved in forestry-related activities.

Eucalyptus logs for charcoal

Eucalyptus logs prepared for charcoal making (© Amare)

Further, informal discussions with farmers at their fields as well as charcoal making individuals were conducted. A total of 38 individuals, where 4 are heads of district offices, 10 male and 2 female experts, 14 male and 4 female farmers and 4 charcoal making individuals were contacted during the survey.

The points of discussions included the historical trend of the specific innovations, contributions of the different stakeholders on adoption, the factors that facilitated the farm level adoption as well as the advantages of the specific innovations to the farmers and the community. Besides, field observation from transect walks and photo documentation was conducted to assess the status of production of each innovation.

 

Bamboo seedling for plantation

Bamboo seedling for plantation (© Amare)

The local people are friendly and welcoming. Experts in all districts were cooperative and some of them have very willingly participated in the informal discussions. One big challenge encountered was the inaccessibility of data and experts in Banja district. I have to travel four times without success to get as much needed information as possible. Availability of timely organized data was a big problem during the survey.

The next step in my research is to undertake the first phase of data collection, starting this March until August 2019. In this phase, I will collect data at farm households’ level for exploring factors influencing farm level adoption of agroforestry innovations.

 

By Dagninet Amare

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