Farmers’ participation in the development of land use policies for the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Adenew Taffa Ariti*, Jasper van Vliet, Peter H. Verburg

*Corresponding author for this work

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Farmers in Ethiopia are elementary for the implementation of land use policies. However, in order to effectively implement these policies, they need to be aware of them, and accept them accordingly. In this study we assess to what extent farmers in the Central Rift Valley are aware of prevailing land use policies in their area, to what extent they participated in the development of these policies, and how they perceive the impacts of these policies, using interviews with local farmers as well as stakeholders from governmental institutions at various levels. Farmers and local governments indicated that there was very little participation in the development of land use policies. Contrary, government informants at higher level indicated the opposite, suggesting a gap between farmers and local governmental institutions on the one side and higher governmental institutions on the other side. The perceived lack of participation of farmers led to a lack of ownership, involuntary participation, and failure to use the local knowledge, all hampering the effective implementation of these policies. The recently introduced land registration and certification process was identified as an exception, as it was the result of a participatory process, generally leading to acceptance upon implementation. Despite their low policy awareness, farmers could identify the impacts of land use policies on land use and land cover change, as well as its impacts on their. Further improvement farmer participation in the development of land use policies could increase ownership and thus yield more effective implementation and avoid social unrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


This research was funded by the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) (grant number CF8783/2013 ). We thank Firafis Nebi, Iffa Bushura, and the Arsi Nature Conservation and Environmental Development Association (ANCEDA) for providing all the necessary technical assistance during field work. We are grateful to the farmers and the government institutions in the Oromia Regional State who kindly gave up their precious time for our survey. This study contributes to the global land programme ( ). We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions. Appendix A

FundersFunder number


    • Awareness
    • Land use change
    • Livelihoods
    • Local government
    • Perception
    • Policy development


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