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Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) as a Tool for Land Management

Mejfin Abegaz Abebe

DPPC, Ethiopia


Agriculture is the main stay of Ethiopia’s economy and about 85% of the population are engaged in this sector. Land degradation is a chronic problem. Added to this, increased population growth, improper farming practices and defective polices have stagnated agricultural production and increased degradation of land resources for more than three decades. Among others, incentive (Food-For -Work) programme/policy has been flagged as one of the roadblock for sustained land use in most parts of the country.

In Ethiopia for the past 30 years Food-For-Work (FFW) was the major means (incentive) to "motivate" individual farmers to carry out different soil and water conservation measures. FFW as an incentives was partly adopted as a response to the food insecurity which prevailed during the past drought years resulted largely from environmental degradation.

However, in the last three decades, experiences have proved FFW programmes to be ineffective and eventually developed "dependency syndrome" on most land users. Individual farmers, driven by their immediate benefit; either deliberately destroyed or failed to maintain the soil conservation measures and the afforested trees on their plots and communal lands respectively just to get food grain. Some of the negative side effects of FFW include:

creation of dependency syndrome,

disincentive/negative effect on agricultural production,

discouraging community voluntary participation in other development initiatives.

With a view to streamline past shortcomings and misdeeds, Ethiopia designed a National Policy on Disaster Prevention and Management (NPDPM). One of the major components of this policy is Employment Generation Schemes (EGS), The national institution mandated for execution of the NPDPM is the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC).

The main principle of EGS is to guarantee both effective resource utilization and reduce dependence on relief assistance through:

This paper attempts to review the current FFW and EGS in relation to land management issues specific to drought-prone areas in the country. Additionally, it provides brief accounts of the existing policy framework in the area of disaster management vis--vis land resource management.

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