Land has been curtail national asset and seen as central to economy, the social and political spheres of community as well as the overall society. The objective of this paper has been to assess the implication of accessing land and agricultural based livelihoods of smallholder on land use. The underpinning research involved both primary and secondary data. Primary data were generated using household surveys, focus group discussions and observations. The study revealed that unlike the northern, central highlands and southern parts of Ethiopia, access to land in the northwestern lowlands has emanated from traditional open access regimes. Here, increasing demand for land, formalization process of rural land ownership and access occurring since 2003 combined with poor soil and water conservation practices have negatively affected the productivity of land. Long-standing traditions of agricultural extensification practices coupled with shifting cultivation and open grazing have failed to remain viable strategies of smallholder farmers. Consequently, smallholder farmers have experienced unwise population induced agricultural intensification practices, resulting in decreasing land productivity. Based on the evidences from this study, it is concluded that unless proper measures are taken, the current agricultural based livelihood strategies are not in line with sustainable land use practices.
Key words: Agriculture, land use, livelihood, strategy.
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