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Strengthening Use-Rights Over Resources for Farmer-Led Natural Resources Management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Manaye, Sintayehu
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/374
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
land degradation
land tenure and use
participatory management--case studies
Abstract: "Meket Woreda (North Wollo Administrative Zone) is almost wholly dependant on agriculture for the livelihood of its people. Ranging in altitude from below 2,000 metres above sea level (masl) to about 3,400 masl, it is characterised by a mix of agro-climatic zones, each offering a different set of opportunities and constraints for subsistence farming. However, over the last 20 years or so, a gradual trend of natural resource degradation has accelerated so rapidly as to render the Woreda structurally food insecure, even in the years of 'good rainfall.' "According to many official documents, as increasing population has put more pressure on the land, fallow periods have been severely curtailed and continuous ploughing is becoming the norm. Extensive deforestation (due to expanding cultivation and increasing demand for wood products) has left even the steepest slopes unprotected. As a result much of the annual rainfall is now lost in run-off while provoking both flood damage to crops and severe soil erosion (both gully and sheet). Natural regeneration of indigenous trees is non-existent (or limited to some church land) and efforts at promoting reafforestation have had little impact on the steadily increasing rate of degradation. "Futhermore, in addition to technical and methodological failure in natural resource management, land tenure or user-rights has been one of the key problems in promoting sustainable natural resource management in the Amhara National Regional State. Faced with this reality, the line-departments and people of Meket (with support from the SOS Sahel team working in the Woreda), have begun to develop and pilot a range of participatory methodologies to strengthen agricultural and off-farm sources of livelihood while promoting longer-term natural resource regeneration. "One of these approaches (PLUPI - Participatory Land Use Planning & Implementation) deals with some of the technical and methodological concerns. That is, it attempts to develop a holistic approach to sustainable land husbandry to complement the Government's existing agricultural extension programme. The experiences to date (on PLUPI) have already been documented in SOS/ MoA technical paper no.2 by Tenna Shitarek and Dagnachew Adugna, 1997). "This paper shares the experience in developing a usufruct procedure in Meket Woreda N. Wollo. It describes the process, the achievments and initial impacts. It also shows the progress to date and concludes by highlighting the key lessons learnt from the process. It further gives some tips and recommendations who wish to practice a usufruct-rights (to communities) approach for sustainable naural resource management."

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