Impact of soil erosion control practices on household food security and income: a case of east Usambara highlands, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


The study was conducted to assess contribution of soil and water conservation practices on household food security and income in East Usambara highlands, Tanzania. Purposive sampling procedures were used to obtain six representative villages. In each village, 40 respondents were randomly selected leading to a sample size of 240 respondents. Structured and non-structured interview questions were used to collect data. Data collected by using questionnaires were supplemented by field observations and secondary data. Collected data were analysed using statistical package for social science software. Results indicated that five soil erosion control practices were introduced in the study area by various projects. These include agro-forestry, contour farming, planting crops in rows across the slope, application of animal manure and deep tillage. Contour farming was practiced by most farmers (56%) followed by agro-forestry. Preference for contour farming was based on multiple benefits that farmers get beside soil erosion control per-se. Significant proportion of farmers in the study area (74.8%) are aware of the soil erosion problem, consequences and control measures. Results also indicated that group approaches such as group discussions, demonstrations and field days were used to disseminate SWC technologies. These are considered to be among the most effective dissemination approaches. Results further indicated that there was substantial increase in yield following introduction of SWC technologies although this increase was far below potential yields. Significant proportion of households in the study area (87.5%) is food secure for most time of the year. The introduced SWC practices significantly (P < 0.001) correlated with annual income and crop yields pointing to possibility of enhanced food security and household income. It is therefore recommended that introduction of SWC technologies should also consider “multiple benefits” that farmers are likely to get beside erosion control. It is further recommended that extension services should be improved in order to increase the rate of implementation of SWC technologies. Technologies should be productive-enhancing and conservation effective.



Food security, Soil erosion control, Food security, Usambara highlands


SENKORO,A.J(2010) Impact of soil erosion control practices on household food security and income. a case of east usambara highlands, tanzania .Morogoro ;Sokoine University of Agriculture