African Journal of Soil Science

African Journal of Soil Science ISSN 2375-088X Vol. 4 (2), pp. 305-312, February, 2016. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluation of the comparative productivity and profitability of organic and conventional tef production under rain fed conditions

Zenawi Yohannes1*, Worku Wolde2 and Aregay Merid Zeresenay2

1Shire Soil Research Center, Tigray Agricultural Research Institute, P.O. Box 492, Mekelle, Ethiopia.

2Land Resource Management and Environmental Protection Department, Mekelle University, P. O. Box 231, Mekelle,

Ethiopia.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: yohannes_123@yahoo.com.

Accepted 04 October, 2015

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted to examine tef yield, yield attributes, infiltration rate and macro invertebrates under rain fed conditions. The objective of the study was to evaluate the comparative productivity and profitability of organic and conventional tef production and as such, 50 composite soil samples were collected for soil analysis in the laboratory. A total of 50 plots were selected (25 plots each for organic and conventional farm). In addition, 50 respondents were identified through stratified sampling of organic and conventional farming users and interview schedule was developed and used. The interview was done using semi-structured questionnaire to capture data pertaining to costs, revenue, demographic aspects and agronomic practices in each farming. The results from the field experiment of organic tef farming showed significantly higher plant height (87.64 cm), biomass yield (5.12 ton/ha), organic matter content (1.6%), infiltration rate and richness and diversity of soil macro invertebrates. Organic tef production was profitable than conventional tef production with financial internal rate of return (110%). It was also found that 100% of both respondents said that organic and conventional tef have no grain storage problem and they experience also similar disease or insect pest occurrence. Therefore, Organic farming has a profound vitality from the strategic importance of agro-ecological and environmental health point of view and sustainable crop production system; the farming community should use organic fertilizers in place of mineral fertilizer to increase tef productivity and profitability.

Key words: Organic farming, conventional farming, productivity, profitability, tef, Eragrostis tef.