The broad objective of the study was to analyze the economics of soil conservation practices in Enugu State. This study employed multistage random sampling technique for selecting the respondents. First stage involved simple random selection of one local government area from each of the three (3) agricultural zones. Then three (3) farming communities were selected from each of the three selected local government areas. This gave a total of nine (9) communities for the study. Secondly, ten (10) farm households were randomly selected from each of the three farming communities, making a total of ninety (90) farm households. Well structured and pre-tested questionnaire, personal observation and focus group discussion were used for data collection. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistical, multinomial logit model, partial budget and a composite benefit- cost simulation model. The study showed that most of the farmers adopted more than one soil conservation practice. The conservation practices adopted most by the farmers included; animal and green manure application (100% and 85.55% respectively), cover crop planting (70%), construction of erosion control structures (57.77%), multiple cropping (45.55%) and reduced tillage (40%), incorporation of crop residues ( 26.66%), mulching ( 23.33%), crop rotation ( 21.11%), fallowing ( 14.44%), across slope- cultivation (12.22%), planting of perennial grass barriers (11.11%) and vegetation planting (8.88%s). Majority of the farmers were males (75.56%), the mean age of the farmers was forty six years, and about eighty seven percent (87%) of the farmers had a house hold size of six to ten persons. Majority of the farmers (725%) used family labour, and 53.35% of the farm land was individually owned by the farmers. An increase in farm size showed significant (P<0.05) increase in the application of green manure (z = 2.25) and crop rotation (z = 2.08). Similarly, increase in house hold size showed a significant (P<0.05) increase in the construction of erosion control structures with a 2.54 magnitude of the z-value. An increase in farm size and sex showed a significant (P<0.05) increase in the use of crop rotation (z = 2.31 and 2.75 respectively). Sex also showed a significant (P<0.05) on the used of crop residues with a 1.96 magnitude of the z-value. A benefit cost analysis estimated the cost of soil conservation as N 1,462,300 and the benefit of soil conservation as N 3,246,800 with a net profit of N 1,784,500 and a net present value of N 37,167,285. High capital and labour demand (100%), insecure land tenure (98%), high risk and stability of practice (96.7%), poor policy support by government (95.6%), inadequate access to information and extension services (95.6%), poor returns to land, capital and labour (81.1%), perception and values of practices (51.1%) and perceived attributes of an innovation (35.6%), are some of the factors that limited the used of soil conservation practices by farmers in the study area. Granted that soil conservation practices are expensive, the benefits exceed the cost and it is the only option open to the farmers facing degraded farm lands. Owing to the fact that the farmers are poor and cannot meet up with the financial demands of soil conservation, the government should assist them in terms of financial subsidies and soft loans to enable them meet up with the financial challenges of soil conservation. Land ownership policies and property right information should be made available and accessible to the farmers, since most of the farmers are afraid on investing heavily on their family lands.

1.1    Background Information
According to the United Nation report (1984), Land-use management is the world’s most important environmental and productivity problem. Land degradation, especially soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion and soil moisture stress, is a major problem confronting many African countries (13th International Soil Conservation Organisation Conference (ISCO), 2004).

Environmental degradation in National, State and Community levels in Nigeria is now a critical issue posing serious threats to the populace (Ezemonye, 2007). The major processes of land degradation are physical (in the form of soil erosion, compaction, and crusting and iron pan formation) (Kathleen, 1993). In Nigeria, one of the most serious problems of land-management is soil erosion. Soil erosion constitutes one of the greatest environmental and productivity problems, causing an estimated 30 million tonnes of soil loss annually. Although erosion is a natural process human land use policies also have an effect on erosion, especially industrial agriculture, deforestation, and urban sprawl (Montogomery, 2008, Kotke, 2007). Most of the severe and frightening soil erosion problems and catastrophes in Nigeria are found in many parts of South Eastern region where population densities and resource pressure in these parts rank among the highest in rural Africa. There have been several reports on this ravaging situation in the Southeast, “the conditions, under which our kith and kin have to make their daily living in Nigeria, are hellish and inhuman,” (Orabuchi, 2006).

Soil degradation is a serious problem in Nigeria (World Bank, 1990). Deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, soil salinization, alkalinization and water-logging, form different but often interrelated aspects of soil degradation (Chukwuemeka Okoye, 2009). In Nigeria, soil degradation affects about 50 million people and leads to the greatest loss of Gross National Product (US $3000 million per year) relative to other environmental Problems (World Bank, 1990). Recent years have witnessed a rise of serious concern about the environmental risks associated with modern agricultural practices. Accelerated soil erosion is one of the major constraints to agricultural production in many parts of Enugu State. Therefore, sustainable and renewed resource management practices need address the widespread land degradation, declining soil fertility, unreliable rainfall and even desertification, in a context of global climate change (Rezvanfer, Samiee & Faham, 2009). Similarly, such biological and mechanical soil conservation practices are currently applied by farmers in Enugu State, including; mulching, cover crops cultivation, terracing, integrated cropping and timely use of fertilizers.

Soil conservation refers to the use of measures to protect the soil, the aim of maintaining or improving its natural fertility (FAO, 2001). Soil conservation also refers to a temporary or permanent increase in the productive capacity of the land or its potential for environmental management. In economic terms, “productive capacity” is the attainable annual output of product yield, natural vegetation and water flow, at a fixed level of non-land inputs. Conservation Agriculture (CA) ( sometimes referred to as "agricultural environmental management"), can be defined as “a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment” (FAO, 2007). At the same time conservation is the use of resources in a manner that safely maintains a resource that can be used by humans. Conservation has become critical on the fact that the world population has increased over the years and more food needs to be produced every year (FAO, 2007).....

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