Journal of modern african studies vol:42 issue:1 pages:137-147
Ongoing land degradation in Ethiopia requires urgent action, and has been addressed at different levels of society, including widespread soil and water conservation activities, and the introduction of technologies which integrate local knowledge and farmer's initiatives. This comment, drawing on extensive research on soil erosion processes in Ethiopia since 1994, in intense cooperation with farmers and local authorities, challenges the conclusions of a paper published in this journal on environmental rehabilitation and rapid agricultural intensification for food self-sufficiency in Ethiopia (Keeley & Scoones 2000). In our view, this paper firstly underestimates the importance of environmental degradation and apparently rejects current conservation techniques and policy, and secondly makes an artificial contradiction between environmental rehabilitation policy and a participatory approach. In our experience, and in line with studies reviewed elsewhere, natural resources conservation in Ethiopia is directed towards an integration of food self-sufficiency with conservation/restoration of the environment, and frequently follows a participatory approach.