Adoption of soil conservation technologies and crop productivity in west Usambara highlands, Tanzania

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Sokoine University of Agriculture


Soil erosion has continued to be an alarming problem in the West Usambara highlands, Tanzania. This study was conducted to investigate the level of adoption of Soil Conservation Technologies and crop productivity in the West Usambara highlands following intensive campaigns on SWC from the early 1980s. A sample of 98 randomly selected households from four villages responded to the survey. During data collection, a structured questionnaire survey, interviews, focus group discussions and observation method were used. Multiple linear regression, Paired-samples t-test, and Chi-square were used for analysis in addition to descriptive statistics. Based on the variation of adoption, the Composite Index of Adoption was 0.512±0.156. The maximum and minimum Index adoption was 0.14 and 0.86 respectively. This indicates that each farming household managed to adopt at least one among the disseminated seven soil conservation technologies. Hence, the overall level of technology adoption was moderate. Grass strip, multipurpose trees and bench terraces were found to be the dominant technologies used by the majority of farmers in an integrated pattern. However, the study found overall significant association (χ2 (3) =55. 237; p<0.001) of crop productivity between the two periods (before and after adoption of SCTs). Using t-test, the study also found a significant increase (p<0.001) in crop productivity before and after the adoption of SCTs. Therefore, it was concluded that the adoption of SCTs had a contribution on farm plot productivity in hillsides. The average household farm plot under soil conservation intervention in the hillside was 0.54±0.45 acre. However, an extension visit (p<0.05) and technical training (p<0.05) were found to have significant influence on the adoption of a number of Soil Conservation Technologies. The study recommends intensive soil conservation campaigns which are holistic, integrative and multisectoral.



Soil conservation, Soil fertility, Conservation technologies, Crop productivity, West Usambara highlands, Tanzania, Soil erosion