Abebaw Andarge Gedefaw finishes PhD study on Land Administration and Land Management in Ethiopia

3. March 2021
Abebaw Andarge Gedefaw with project coordinator
The findings of his PhD research are an important contribution to meet the objectives of the EduLAND2 project in particular and in general, to support sustainable land development in Ethiopia.

The EduLAND2 project, a cooperation between BOKU, Debre Markos University (DMU), Technical University Vienna (TUW) and Bahir Dar University, aims to establish a Land Administration Competence Center at DMU, to conduct problem solving research and to train academic workforce. Abebaw Andarge Gedefaw is one of the three candidates being selected for an APPEAR scholarship in an internal competition process by the EduLAND2 consortium. In February 2021 Abebaw finished his PhD.

Information on land cover changes and its driving forces underpin a proper understanding of the dynamics of land cover changes. Furthermore, tenure security is an important factor in land investment and agricultural productivity. Land consolidation is a proper tool to solve inefficiencies in agricultural production, as it enables consolidating plots based on the consent of farmers.

The PhD research aimed to examine the magnitude and rate of land cover change and to identify its major determinants. It also highlighted the effects of land certification on tenure security, land investment, crop productivity, and land dispute. Finally, it intended to assess the determinants, which influence the willingness of farmers to participate in voluntary land consolidation processes. The results of the investigations revealed that during the last three decades the study area has undergone an extensive land cover change, primarily a shift from cropland and grassland into forests and built-up areas. The assessment of land tenure security indicated that most farm households feel that their land use rights are secure after the certification process. Farmers are predominantly willing to participate in voluntary land consolidation (66.8%). Significant determinants influencing the willingness of farmers for voluntary land consolidation are the exchange of parcels with neighbors, the expectation of better arranged parcels, the nearnss of plots to the farmstead, and the perception that land fragmentation reduces agricultural productivity.

The outputs from this study could be used to assure sustainability in resource utilization, proper land use planning, and proper decision-making. It should encourage policy makers to minimize the sources of insecurity, such as frustrations of future land redistribution and land taking without proper land compensation. Voluntary land consolidation can be a policy instrument to address the challenges of subsistence agriculture in Ethiopia.

Since 2012, Abebaw Andarge Gedefaw is employed as a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Geography, Surveying and Land Administration at DMU. Prior to this he was also working at the Department of Population Studies at Gondar University and at the Central Statistical Agency in Addis Ababa. After finishing his PhD, he will continue his teaching and research activities at DMU. His PhD research is focused on the assessment of land information by means of remote sensing data to support rural land administration. “His findings are an important contribution to meet the objectives of the EduLAND2 project in particular, and in general, to support sustainable land development in Ethiopia” says the project coordinator Reinfried Mansberger from BOKU. He furthermore stressed the importance of applied PhD research and locally undertaken field work “Abebaw collected ground truth data for the production of land cover maps, and he interviewed farmers and land administration experts about the strength and weak points of the in Ethiopia recently outlined land certification process, about their opinion on land consolidation, and about their needs on more detailed data about land”.

List of papers for Ph.D.

I. Gedefaw, A.A.; Atzberger, C.; Bauer, T.; Agegnehu, S.K.; Mansberger, R. Analysis of land cover change detection in Gozamin district, Ethiopia: From remote sensing and DPSIR perspectives. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4534. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114534

II. Gedefaw, A.A.; Atzberger, C.; Seher, W.; Agegnehu, S.K.; Mansberger, R. Effects of Land Certification for Rural Farm Households in Ethiopia: Evidence from Gozamin District, Ethiopia. Land 2020, 9(11), 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110421

III. Gedefaw, A.A.; Atzberger, C.; Seher, W.; Mansberger, R. Farmers willingness to participate in voluntary land consolidation in Gozamin District, Ethiopia. Land 2019, 8, 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/land8100148