Land degradation has become a crucial impediment to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in Ethiopia, increasing the rural population’s vulnerability to recurrent drought and famine. This deteriorating situation is a result of overgrazing, deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices and overexploitation of wetlands. Siltation of water bodies is a major threat to irrigation development.

The average annual rate of soil loss in the country is estimated to be 12 tons/hectare/year, and it can be even higher on steep slopes and on places where the vegetation cover is low. The amount of yield reduction as a result of loss of topsoil each year is increasing substantially.