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An Analysis of Soil Productivity Parameters and Livelihoods in West Shewa and South Wollo, Ethiopia

Journal article
Authors Staffan Rosell
Mats Olvmo
Published in Scottish Geographical Journal
Volume 130
Issue 1
Pages 51-66
ISSN 1470-2541
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 51-66
Language en
Keywords food security, tef, enset, soil fertility, Ethiopia
Subject categories Physical Geography


A vast majority of the Ethiopian population lives in rural areas and agricultural activities are the main income for them. The aim of this study is to analyse soil productivity parameters and problems with food production in regional and local contexts. At local level two villages in Wenchi district in West Shewa are compared while a comparison with Tehuledere district in South Wollo is done at the regional level. Soil samples from 70 fields were analysed at the Soil Laboratory in Addis Ababa with respect to pH, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, macronutrients, and soil texture among others. Physical observations and semi-structured interviews with farmers were also conducted to obtain the goals. When comparing the two districts, results indicate minor differences in terms of soil fertility. The very low amount of organic content (1%) in Tehuledere must be mentioned though. Low values of organic content have a negative impact on soil productivity. In conclusion, we emphasize the importance to study several parameters, such as farm area, livelihood assets and rainfall pattern to understand the problems the rural population has to face to secure food production.

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