The farming systems of potential potato production areas of Chencha, southern Ethiopia

W. Mazengia, R.P.O. Schulte, Y. Tadese, D. Griffin, S. Schulz, P.C. Struik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


A survey was conducted in 2012 to assess the diversity of farming systems in the potential potato production areas of Chencha in southern Ethiopia. It was part a PhD research study on evaluation and optimization of sustainability of farming systems which is part of an initiative to make the area a potato centre of excellence. Household surveys (n=57) and farmers' group discussions were used to collect data from 21 villages. A mixed farming system was the prevailing system in the area where crops and livestock are simultaneously grown. The major crops grown in the area were potato, enset, wheat, barley and kale. Most crops were grown as food and cash crops. Barley and enset were mainly grown for household consumption. Farmers used improved varieties mainly for potato (73% of respondents) and wheat (77%). There were two cropping seasons per calendar year and crop rotation is common in the area. The dominant rotation system practised by 95% of the respondents was planting potato followed by wheat or barley. The common intercropping practices were mixed intercropping of barley with lentil and wheat with linseed. Based on local classification there were 12 soil types. The most common ones were Modo (dark loam), Gobo (red clay) and Kalta (brown clay). Fertilizers used were farmyard manure (97% of households), compost (40%), urea (78%) and diammonium phosphate (DAP) (81%). Farmers used low rates of inorganic fertilizers due to shortage of cash. Most of the households (55%) obtained a cash income from agricultural activities, mainly from crop production. The most important off-farm activity was weaving. Household food demands were met from own farm and external sources. Constraints of the farming system that need research and policy interventions include soil fertility depletion, low productive crop varieties, shortages of land, improved seed and cash.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPotato and sweetpotato in Africa :
Subtitle of host publicationTransforming the value chains for food and nutrition security
EditorsJ. Low, M. Nyongesa, S. Quinn, M. Parker
Place of PublicationCambridge
ISBN (Print)9781780644202
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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