Participatory soil and water conservation planning using a financial analysis tool in the west usambara highlands of tanzania

A.J.M. Tenge, B.O. Okoba, G. Sterk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Despite decades of soil and water conservation (SWC) efforts in Tanzania, the adoption of the recommended SWC measures by farmers is minimal. In the past, SWC plans did not incorporate farmers' knowledge, and the economics of SWC was not given much attention at the planning stage. This research evaluated the applicability of two tools for participatory soil erosion mapping using farmers' indicators of soil erosion and financial analysis of SWC measures at the planning stage. The two tools were evaluated in Kwalei catchment in the West Usambara highlands, Tanzania. The participatory soil erosion-mapping tool uses farmers' indicators of soil erosion to identify, classify and map soil erosion at the catchment level. The financial analysis tool involves farmers in a stepwise analysis of the costs and benefits of SWC measures before the implementation. The erosion-mapping tool increased farmers' awareness on the severity of soil erosion problems, and they realised the need for SWC plans at both field and catchment scales. With the financial analysis tool farmers participated in the cost and benefits analysis and were able to select SWC options that were feasible under their socio-economic situation. The two tools were able to demonstrate that farmers' participation in SWC planning increases the acceptance of SWC measures because they solve problems that are perceived by themselves. The financial analysis tool demonstrated how farmers could make selection of SWC measures that are feasible under their biophysical and economic condition if they are informed about the costs and benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-337
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • erosion indicators
  • kenya
  • catchment
  • africa

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