Crop Theft and Soil Fertility Management in the Highlands of Ethiopia

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Theft of crops in rural areas is largely attributed to poverty and hunger. Crop theft has the consequence of soil fertility management being vastly impaired, a possible association examined by very few studies. The emphasis of most soil fertility studies has been on the effect of biophysical conditions and economics, which are the lack of capability of farmers as well as the failure of macro-economic policies to support good soil fertility management practices. The challenges that farmers face at the individual, household and community levels, as well as the barriers hampering farmers from practicing adequate soil fertility management, are still poorly understood. We need to extend our thinking beyond contextual issues of poverty, hunger, climate and seasonality to acquire a more nuanced understanding of food security in transforming rural agrarian societies. This study investigated the role of crop theft, particularly of legume bean crops, and its impact on soil fertility management. The results revealed that crop theft of legume bean crops deteriorated local intercropping and crop rotation soil fertility management practices. Crop theft had serious consequences on other socio-economic and cultural aspects of day-to-day life that deteriorated human relationships and eroded trust.



beans, crop rotation, Ethiopia, food security, soil fertility, theft, trust, women


International Journal of Rural Criminology, v3, n2 (June, 2017), p. 176-190