Factors influencing adoption of soil conservation measures sustainability and socio-economic impacts among small holders farmers in Mbeya rural district, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Soil degradation attributed by erosion threatens agriculture production in many regions of Tanzania, consequently food insecurity and drawback poverty reduction efforts. Though various soil conservation measures (SCM) have been introduced and practiced by farmers, the extent of their adoption and sustainability are not clear. The objective of this study was to assess the factors influencing adoption of soil conservation measures, their sustainability, and socio-economic impacts among small-holder farmers in Mbeya Rural District. Specifically, the study aimed at assessing, quantifying and documenting factors that influence adoption of SCM, farmers’ opinions on sustainability of SCM and the impacts of the existing SCM on crops yields. Shibolya and Usoha Muungano villages in Tembela ward were selected on the basis of SCM project receivers. A sample of 100 smallholder farmers was selected randomly. Primary data were collected through semi structured questionnaire. Secondary data were collected from various documents and sources. Descriptive analysis such as frequencies, cross tabulations, chi-square test were performed, t-test and linear regression were used for yield comparison of adopters and non-adopters and relationship establishment between adopters and socio-economic characteristics of farmers respectively. Results showed significant influence on personal factors (age and education) socio-economic factors (non- farm activities, farm size and fertilizer use), institutional factors (technical support, distance to market and training), biophysical factors (topography, types of soil erosion and soil fertility) among farmers. About 58% of opinions in regards to sustainablility of the SCM required regular soil management, 23% suggested more education on SCM. Adoption of SCM increased farmers’ maize and pyrethrum yield by an average of 27.8% and 26.8% respectively above non-adopters. Thus, SCM have resulted into substantial improvement in farm yields. Educating farmers regularly, consideration of farmers’ opinions and implementation of SCM are recommended.




Soil conservation, sustainability, small-holder farmers, Soil conservation, sustainability, small-holder farmers