The impact of fanya juu bunds on productivity in a high rainfall area in the Ethiopian highlands is analyzed based on data from a cross section household survey with multiple plot observations per household. The results from parametric and non-parametric analysis indicated that productivity from conserved plots was lower than from non-conserved plots. The Oaxaca-Blinder productivity decomposition results showed that there was little difference in plot characteristics between conserved and non-conserved plots, however the returns to those characteristics were higher for non-conserved plots. The sensitivity analysis, increasing fodder grass production on bunds, suggests that there are possibilities to make conserved plots as productive as non-conserved ones. The findings imply that fanya juu bunds may be inappropriate to the local conditions under the existing condition. Farmers in the study area reported that these bunds h ave problem of water-logging, reduce land available for production, and create difficulties in turning the ox-drawn plough due to narrow bund sp acing. Apart from these, there is no attempt made to integrate these bunds with soil fertility management techniques. Overall, these results yield important lessons for future design of conservation technologies that have both physical and economic benefits as well as that are best suited to the local conditions.