Soil fertility and crop theft: changing rural dimensions and cropping patterns

Farmers globally and those in Ethiopia in particular, are facing a number of challenges on top of the obvious physical and economic constraints in managing soil fertility. The majority of the studies conducted on soil fertility issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), have studied the cause and effect of soil fertility changes to the biophysical conditions, farmer’s economic incapability or macro-economic policies. What is less well understood are the challenges that farmers face at the household and community level, the blind-spots that hamper farmers from practicing soil fertility management. This study reflected on how thievery, especially theft of legume crops is affecting not only soil fertility but also other socio-economic and cultural aspects of day to day life. Crop theft requires us to extend our thinking beyond climate and seasonality, especially in agrarian societies. Theft of crops in rural areas seems to be largely related to food insecurity, both the transitory type as well as the chronic variant.

File: Crop-Theft Chiwona-Karltun-7 July-2009.pdf