Farmers’ Perception of Soil: Implications for Soil Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture in the UK (Published)
We identify UK farmers’ perception of soil, awareness of soil in terms of how they describe it, their awareness of its benefits other for than crop production, their familiarity with soil conservation, and their opinions on soil protection and the value of organic fertilizers. Data were collected with the aid of social media using both Twitter and electronic mail to distribute a survey link to farmers. UK yellow pages, Natural England directory and Twitter were used to search for farms. Data were analysed using SPSS version 22.0 statistical software and Wordle. Chi square was used to test for relationships between variables at 95% confidence level (p<0.05), while Phi and Cramer’s V were used to measure strength of association for significant relationships. Results showed that farmers’ describe soils in abstract, scientific, physical attribute and functional terms. Awareness of soil benefits other than crop production was significantly related to age, and farm ownership. Educational level was significantly related to familiarity with soil conservation, and opinion on whether soil should be protected like other natural resources. The implications of these results for soil conservation and sustainable agriculture are discussed and used as, the basis for policy recommendations.
Impact of Soil Conservation on Farm Efficiency of Maize Growers in Arsi Negelle, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia (Review Completed - Accepted)
Ethiopia has failed to produce enough food to feed its population and the country has remained as one of the poorest countries in the world and land degradation has been identified as one of the most serious problems that threaten the sustainability of agriculture in the country. In an effort to address this problem, the government has given due attention for soil and water conservation in the country. However, definitive and quantitative information regarding soil conservation and its interactions with farm productivity is lacking. The major concern of this study was therefore, to evaluate the impact of soil conservation interventions on technical efficiency of smallholder farm households in Arsi Negelle district of Ethiopia using cross sectional data collected from randomly selected 160 sample households during 2011/12 production season. Stochastic frontier has been used to extract the efficiency scores from the production function and to measure the impact of conservation practices on technical efficiency; Propensity Score Matching (PSM) was employed. The logistic regression estimation of factors affecting participation in soil conservation revealed that educational level of the household head, farming experience and frequency of extension contact significantly affected the participation decision of households in soil conservation. In matching processes, kernel matching with band width of 0.5 was found to be the best matching algorism. This method was also checked for covariate balancing with a standardized bias, t-test, and joint significance level tests. The results revealed that households that participate in conservation practice have got an improvement of 3.16 percent in technical efficiency than those households that were not participated which shows participation has a significant, positive and robust impact on the outcome variables. Therefore, policy makers and other stockholders should give due attention in soil conservation.