Land Degradation in Ethiopia: What Do Stoves Have To Do With It?
In Ethiopia deforestation is a major problem and many peasants have switched from fuelwood to dung for cooking and heating purposes, thereby damaging the agricultural productivity of cropland. The Ethiopian government has embarked on a two-pronged policy in an effort to stem deforestation and the degradation of agricultural lands: (i) tree planting or afforestation; (ii) dissemination of more efficient stove technologies. The motivation in here is, therefore, to examine the potential of the strategy of disseminating improved stoves in the rehabilitation of agricultural and forests lands. For empirical analysis we used a dataset on cross-section of 200 farm households from the highlands of Tigrai, northern Ethiopia. We used a two-step procedure reminiscent of hedonic pricing. Results in this paper indicate that farm households in Tigrai/ Ethiopia are willing to adopt new/improved stove innovations if these result in economic savings. Moreover, results suggest a significant positive impact in slowing the degradation of agricultural and forested lands. On a per household basis, we found that adopters will collect 68.3 kg less wood each month, while more dung in the form of manure becomes available as 19.899 kg less dung is collected each month. In terms of wood alone, assuming an average of 79 t of biomass per ha, we found the potential reduction in deforestation amounts to some 1,794 ha per year, not an inconsequential savings.
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