Assessment of agricultural emissions, climate change mitigation and adaptation practices in Ethiopia

Diana Feliciano* (Corresponding Author), John Recha, Gebermedihin Ambaw, Kirsten Macsween, Dawit Solomon, Eva Wollenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


The agricultural sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Ethiopia, as it is the basis of the economy and the primary source of employment. The Government of Ethiopia intends to reduce economy-wide GHG emissions, including those from agriculture, by 2030. This study investigated the implementation of mitigation and adaptation practices in smallholder farms in Ethiopia, estimated GHG emissions associated with mitigation practices, and identified potential mitigation options and barriers and enabling factors for implementation. Twenty-five smallholder farmers were selected by a local development agency and interviewed in the field about their land use and land management practices. After, a workshop was held with a wide range of stakeholders and the Mitigation Options Tool (MOT) was used to estimate GHG emissions, to identify mitigation options and co-benefits, and as a platform for promoting learning and knowledge exchange across stakeholders. All farmers interviewed in the field acknowledged changes in the climate, but only some were implementing adaptation practices to cope with such changes, namely, implementing crop rotations, planting new crop types, and the early sowing of crops. Farmers were implementing fewer practices classified as mitigation practices, namely reduced tillage and application of manure in cereal crops and potatoes. These practices were mainly implemented because of their benefits for soil conservation (e.g. fertility, soil water holding capacity, yield stabilisation, erosion avoidance) rather than for mitigation (carbon sequestration) purposes. Greenhouse gas emissions from the application of synthetic fertiliser to wheat, barley and potatoes, and from livestock production were estimated and these varied widely across farmers depending on the amount of fertiliser applied and the number and type of livestock raised. Tenancy rights and effective extension services were identified as potential enablers of the adoption of climate change mitigation and adaptation practices by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, and competing uses for straw was a potential barrier for the incorporation of residues in the soil. Barriers and enabling factors should be assessed thoroughly through further engagement with farmers. Data on the amount of organic matter added to the soil should also be collected more systematically as these practices have co-benefits in terms of soil conservation, which are especially relevant for climate change adaptation in semi-dry climates. According to stakeholders attending the workshop, the MOT effectively promoted learning on the relationship between land management options and climate change. The MOT could, therefore, be used in the future as a facilitator for knowledge exchange between researchers and practitioners in Ethiopia, and other developing countries where data availability is low, to support the identification of effective climate change mitigation and adaptation actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalClimate policy
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

The CCAFS Mitigation Options Tool (MOT) was developed by the University of Aberdeen and the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with support from CCAFS, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United States Development of Agriculture (USDA). The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Programme is carried out with support from CGIAR Trust Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit The views expressed in this document cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of these organisations.


  • land use and management
  • agriculture
  • Mitigation Options Tool
  • adaptation
  • Ethiopia


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