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Tropentag, September 20 - 22, 2017 in Bonn

"Future Agriculture: Social-ecological transitions and bio-cultural shifts"

Is Bamboo a Poor Man's Timber in Ethiopia? Employment Prospects of Bamboo among Poor Rural Farm Families

Habtamu Demilew Yismaw1, Bamlaku Alamirew Alemu2, Tim K. Loos3

1Yom Institute of Economic Development, Research Coordination Unit, Ethiopia
2Addis Ababa University, Development Studies, Ethiopia
3University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Germany


The primary objective of the research is to provide holistic insights into the current status and future potentials of the bamboo sector to enhance sustainable livelihoods and employment generation amongst poor rural farm families in Ethiopia. The research mainly used primary data for analysis. The sample for the research is drawn from the two-major bamboo growing hot-spots in Ethiopia. A total of 486 sample households were randomly selected from these areas. The research applied integrated qualitative as well as quantitative analysis techniques. The corner solution model developed by Cragg (1971), as an alternative to the Tobit model, is used to analyse the employment contribution of bamboo to the rural smallholder farm households.
Findings of the research show that bamboo has a notable contribution to employment among poor rural smallholder farm households. Engaging in bamboo is more preferred by poorer rural families with relatively lower resource settings. Results also show that entering into bamboo employment is not a problem, yet, employment in bamboo is only subsistence. Moreover, market prices of bamboo culms are found to have a significant contribution for both the probability of employment in bamboo as well as for the conditional probability of the variation in the income from bamboo of rural households. All in all, employment in bamboo is income elastic and dominated by poorer farm households which have relatively higher share of income from bamboo than others. Besides, higher level of income from bamboo has a strong association with better food security status of rural farm households. Moreover, the fact that it can be harvested in short cycles makes bamboo the most liquid cash crop for farmers especially in times of short run food shortage. These evidences collectively imply that employment in bamboo is a safety-net to meet food security specially among poorer rural families.
Accordingly, the research forwarded areas of intervention to enhance the contribution of bamboo to employment generation and maintain sustainable livelihood among poor rural farm households. These include, among others, collective training and capacity building schemes for farmers and artisans, distribution of improved bamboo varieties among farmers and creating enabling market infrastructure.

Keywords: Bamboo biomass, employment, sustainable agricultural livelihoods

Contact Address: Habtamu Demilew Yismaw, Yom Institute of Economic Development, Research Coordination Unit, Algeria Street, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, e-mail: hahu357@gmail.com

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