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Understanding farmers' investments in sustainable land management in Burundi: A case‐study in the provinces of Gitega and Muyinga

Ndagijimana, Marcien, Kessler, Aad, Asseldonk, Marcel van
Land degradation & development 2019 v.30 no.4 pp. 417-425
conservation practices, credit, descriptive statistics, educational status, farmers, farms, households, issues and policy, land degradation, markets, organic fertilizers, regression analysis, rural areas, soil, soil erosion, soil fertility, surveys, sustainable land management, water conservation, Burundi
Understanding farmers' decision‐making to tackle land degradation by means of sustainable land management (SLM) practices is essential for policy makers. The main objective of this study was to identify factors that influence farmers' investments in SLM. A survey was conducted in two provinces of Burundi (Gitega and Muyinga) among 160 households. Methods for data analysis comprised descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression. It was derived that both provinces experience severe land degradation, with soil erosion experienced by 88% of the farmers and soil fertility depletion by 92%. Furthermore, findings show that occurrence of soil erosion on the farm (p = 0.025), access to credit (p = 0.022), education level (p = 0.040), engagement of the household head in farming (p < 0.001), and age of the household head (p = 0.050) are significantly and positively associated with higher investments in SLM. Moreover, the findings reveal that the yearly costs per farmer associated to the SLM practices' implementation ranged from US$10.08 for soil and water conservation practices up to US$36.24 for organic fertilizers. Therefore, in order to foster SLM, we recommend policy makers in Burundi to improve access to credit markets in rural areas and enhance efforts to strengthen smallholders' skills, bringing as such more integrated and effective solutions to cope with land degradation problems.