3.1.1. Market information about price of rice
According to the respondents’ explanation, they do not spend money to get market information about the price of rice, other crops, fish, etc. Getting information does not necessarily require spending money in the study area, farmers said that they heard about the price of rice seeds by going to the market place only. All of the sampled households responded that farmers were not spending money in looking for market information to sale their crops. There is no system of informing the farmers about the price of their crops. Respondents explained that there were no crops left out of production because of lack of information about the introduction and high productivity of rice as well as its fetching higher prices than other crops except teff (Eragrostis tef). Because of the better market price of rice next to teff, farmers’ production system was changing and rice became a dominant crop in the study site, while some crops such as green pepper (Capsicum spp.), maize (Zea mays L.), noug (Guizotia abyssinica) and finger millet (Eleusine coracana) were almost out of production, except on small pocket areas of the study site.
3.1.2. Farmers’ market participation
As the results of data presented in table 2 show, 87% of the farmers participated in the rice markets, where they sold portions of their rice produces; whereas 13% of the respondents said they used the rice for household consumption. The price of rice (11–13 Ethiopian Birr per kilogram) was very promising as explained by the sample respondents in winter season of 2015.
Respondents indicated that their market destinations are from their Woreda. Among the farmers that sold their rice, 33.2%, of the respondents sold their rice produces to any buyer in the market, 2.9%, to brokers, 11.4% to retailers and 39.5% to wholesellers. This means that farmers were not motivated to sell their rice produces to any single entity or group.
The distance of market from the farmers’ village to the Woreda market center varies from 30 minutes to three hours walking distance.
The data presented in table 4 shows that farmers use three types of transportation: 80% of the farmers used pack animals to transport their rice produce to the market, 10.6% used vehicles, and 9.4% used human power. The vast majority, i.e. 89.4%, of the respondents didn’t use vehicles for transportation because there is no road, 10.6% of respondents used vehicles during dry weather.
Sampled farmers were motivated to produce more rice than other crops (table 5). The main factors motivating farmers to produce more rice were high market price (63% of the respondents), high consumer demand (according to 20.5% of the respondents), and high demand for rice seed (15.9% of the respondents). Therefore, all market forces were driving factors for the farmers to produce more rice than other crops. Even though 13% of the farmers did not participate in selling rice, they knew the market prices that were motivating the farmers to produce more rice.
Regarding the supply of rice grain, 94.5% of the sampled households responded that there was not enough rice in the market; whereas, 5.5% said there was enough rice yield (table 6). Almost all the respondents responded that there was less supply of rice in the market, a situation which encouraged them to expand rice farming and production.
Getting informed on the market demand for their crop was very necessary for farmers to produce more rice. As the data in table 7 show, farmers have awareness about the market demand for rice crop. According to 96.4% of the respondents, there was high demand for rice in the market center of the Woreda; 3.6% said there was enough supply of rice in the market center of the Woreda. Almost all the respondents indicated that there was less supply of rice in the market and that had encouraged them to expand and intensify rice farming practices rather than use of previous practices.
The farmers generally suggested a more balanced rice marketing system where production of rice throughout wetland kebeles encourages all farmers to participate in rice production, access rice thrashing machines at village level, access improved variety of rice, improved road, and a good linkage in the input-output systems.
3.1.3. The impacts of rice of price on traditional wetland management practices
The influence of prices of rice on traditional wetland management practices
First, by traditional practices we refer to small scale agricultural activities like maize (Zea mays L.) and green pepper (Capsicum spp.) production using livestock manure, and production of noug (Guizotia abyssinica) (pulse crop) in the floodplains. Practes of fishes in the wetlands (floodplain) that is when water levels increase, wetlands (floodplain) are filled with water and fish available. After the water receds, the fish trapped in the wetlands used to be grown for human consumption. Wetland communities use pastures in recently flooded areas for cattle grazing. Forest and bush lands were common in floodplains and were used as a source of fuelwood. According to Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) office expert and FGD participants, the elderly people had indigenous knowledge of using wetland resources such as papyrus, reeds, brooms and Butia capitata for different purposes.
The study participants were asked also about the influence of rice market on traditional wetland management practices. The data presented in table 8 shows that 61.6% of the respondents said the increase in the prices of rice grain led to departures from traditional wetland management practices; 25.7% said the prices of rice almost eliminated the traditional wetland management practices in the study site; whereas 4.2%, of the respondents said that trends in the price of rice encouraged farmers to preserve their traditional wetland management practices; 4.9% said it helped promote traditional wetland management practices; but, for 3.6% of the respondents, rice price trends had no effect on traditional wetland management practices. About 12.7% of the respondents, were not sure of what counts as traditional knowledge/practice in the study areas; because, they said, some practices had already been lost over time (in the appendix I box 1).
Farmers’ understanding of traditionally-produced goods from wetland resources
As table 9 illustrates, 74% of the respondents explained there were no goods produced traditionally from wetland resources during this study, whereas 26% of the respondents said there were traditionally-produced goods from wetland resources and the surrounding Lake Tana areas beofore the introduction of rice.
The types of traditionally-produced goods from wetland resources
As summarized in the appendix box 1, there were very different resources used for the society in the study site. Currently, according to sampled household respondents, only fishing acticities are practiced a little as compared to the previous long years ago. Preparing local boats for fishers from papyrus has also continued but most of the papyrus has been lost because of the expansion of rice farming. Fishers have found those papyrus resources from elsewhere in the pocket areas of Lake Tana, particularly in the islands. The other resources mentioned in the appendix Box 1 have been lost few years ago because of expansion of rice farming in the wetland areas of the study kebeles. To reverse this, ’Man and Biosphere (MAB)’ plan encourages local people in preserving and promoting traditional agricultural practices and related traditional knowledge vis-à-vis the exiting rice prices for sustaining the wetland resources of study site.
Local people in the study site were interviewed regarding the absence or presence of the wetland functions and services.
According to the farmers explanation, the functions and service of wetland resources mentioned in the box 2 were available in the past but they have been reduced through time, because rice expansion occured at the expense of wetlands. Respondents also mentioned that the reduction and loss of these wetland resources are not only depriving the community from it but also contributing to the loss of their traditional practice in the past.
Regarding hydrologic function, they said that the water comes from the uplands and the whole study site gets covered by flood water during summer season. See the figure 9 in the appendix that indicate the upper stream of the two big rivers of at the two border of the study site. Therefore, during the summer season the floodplains are covered with flood water which was very important for the farmers to produce more rice in the summer season. They also indicated the level of water in the floodplain (wetlands) has dropped compared to the past. So, the hydrologic functions of study wetlands varied seasonally (figure 4). The trends of water flow and rainfall in the study wetland is increasing (figure 5). The frequency of extreme low flow, small flood and large flood has showen a decreasing trend (figure 6). The variability of rainfall and flow is also increasing. Flow and the rainfall in the stydy area indicate a significant correlation (table 10). The ideas of the farmers has also substantiated by the following seasonal flow duration curve, low flow and high flow graphs (table 3)
Farmers’ perception of the effects of rice market on wetland resources
About 57.9% of the respondents said they strongly agree that increasing market price of rice has negative effects on traditional wetland resources management; 34.6% of the respondents agree but 7.5% were undecided (table 11). However, 7.5% abstained and 92.5% of the respondents said the rice price has an effect on the resources of the wetlands in the study site.
3.1.4. Farmers’ participation in biodiversity conservation
Farmers' willingness to support the efforts of Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union
It was found that 57.1% of the respondents demonstrated a willingness to support the effort of the NABU to implement the biosphere reserve principles in their kebeles (table 12). About 13% of the respondents indicated they were not willing to support the efforts of the NABU office, whereas 29.4% of the respondents did n't know anything about the program. About 70.1% of the respondents get information about the efforts of NABU. The none willingness of some of the respondents may be due to fear of legal framework that would not give the chance to encroach illegally the wetlands and communal grazing landusers to expand rice farming. During promotion of any development activities, participation of local farmers and stackholders is essential. Because, awareness creation creates a sense of ownership among the local community and thereby helps to sustain the development project in their local environment.
3.1.5. Wetland reduction detection
As illustrated in figure 7, wetland areas were greatly reduced in favor of rice farms between 1973 and 2014. This because the price of rice encouraged the farmers to incorporate wetlands in to their farmland to produce more rice. Therefore, there is not only intensification of rice but also extensification of the rice crop in the study wetland areas.
As shown in figures 7A and 7B, area of wetlands has declined in most categories except for agricultural land. This is because of the price of rice pushed the farmers to incorporat wetland and grazing lands through time in to their farmland. Quantitative comparisons for changes in land use are shown in (figure 8). Specifically, grazing lands were reduced from 8550 ha or 50% of land area, to 3501 ha or 20% of land area; wetlands from 3114 ha or 18% of land area to 1060 ha or 6% of land area; and forestlands from 1542 ha or 9% of land area to 907 ha or 5% of land area. Based on the map, cultivated land area increased from 3441 ha or 20% of land area, to 11550 ha or 67% of land area, and water surface area from 502 ha or 3% of the study area, to 907 ha or 5% of the area.
Previous to the massive introduction of rice production, the shoreline of Lake Tana was covered by papyrus and long grass has been cleared out and exposed to sunlight and visible for the remote sensing. In the previous time, the border of Lake Tana and wetlands were covered by the vegetation such as reeds, Butia Capitata (palm tree) long grasses, papyrus but today, the vegetation has been removed around the shorelineof the Lake and the wetlands because of recession farming and for the dry season small scale irrigation (figure 9) due to population dynamics.
According to interviewed and FGD participants', some traditional farming systems/practices are near extinction. For instance, farmers tried to practice different traditional farming activities like manuring of their farmyard using their livestock waste matter by leaving them in coral or byre for night time. manure was cultivated and mixed with soil. increasing the fertility of the soil. So, that this practice is extinct. The local people practiced also fishing in the wetlands but currently fishing is rarely practiced in the wetlands. They also practiced flooding pastures in the style of transhumance, where most of the local people used practiced a pastoralist community style which they were then flooded pastures for cattle grazing specially in the dry season.