Land-use dynamics in enset-based agroforestry homegardens in Ethiopia

  • Tesfaye AbebeEmail author
  • Frans Bongers


In many tropical countries homegardens sustain large numbers of people. Households depend for their livelihoods on the variety and continued production of food and other products that are provided by their own gardens. Such homegardens combine production with the maintenance of biodiversity. Long-term sustainability of the system is crucial for the long-term wellbeing of the population, including food security. The enset-coffee system of Southern Ethiopia is an example of such agroforestry homegardens. Enset is the main food crop and coffee is the main cash crop. We analysed the homegardens of 144 households covering a range of geographical conditions. Household wealth status was the main determinant of homegarden size. In total, 198 species of cultivated crops (78) and trees (120) were found. Enset and crops were represented by 42 and 24 cultivars respectively. The homegardens were covered by around one-third of enset and one-third of coffee. Enset provides the backbone of the system as it provides food security. Our results show that the stability of the system depends both on its diversity and on the specific characteristics of the two main crops, enset and coffee. The enset-coffee homegardens are changing as farmers increasingly make individual choices and respond to emerging challenges and opportunities. The dynamics of the agroforestry homegarden of Southern Ethiopia can be considered as a productive bricolage process on the micro scale.


coffee Enset ventricosum Ethiopia livelihood agricultural intensification 


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© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of AgricultureHawassa UniversityHawassaEthiopia
  2. 2.Centre for Ecosystem StudiesWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenthe Netherlands

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