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Fertilizer Consumption and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia


  • Kefyalew Endale

    () (Ethiopian Development Research Institute)


This study analyzes fertilizer application rates, trends in the number of users, its effects on agricultural productivity and, finally, the determinants of its consumption. The major data sources are the Central Statistical Authority (CSA) and the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS). The national level evidence shows incremental increases in total fertilizer imports as well as in the applied volume of fertilizer. The household level data show that the average number of farmers that apply fertilizer is high especially in teff and wheat. The percentage of farmers who apply Urea in particular is, however, low as it does not exceed 36% in any of the five crops. The data also show some decline in the number of adopters, especially in 2004. The high price of fertilizer is the major constraint for about 47.6% of the farmers under consideration, followed by supply shortage and late arrival of fertilizer. The effect of fertilizer use on the value of agricultural production and yield is positive. Partial correlations and panel regression results support the positive effect. However, the magnitude with which the value of production responds to a change in fertilizer use is low. The smaller marginal effects of fertilizer use might be due to problems arising from applying below recommended rates and failure to use the two nutrients in proper combination. Finally, the consumption model reveals that education status of the household head is the most important variable affecting fertilizer use. Livestock ownership, size of land owned, amount of credit, and number of family members with sub-compulsory education are the other factors affecting fertilizer use positively. The study identified priority areas of interventions to address the problem of fertilizer use and its consumption. The highest priority area of intervention in the supply side is the price of fertilizer. Almost 50% of the farmers reported the price as their biggest constraint. This necessitates thinking about alternative means like crop specific partial subsidies of fertilizer and cash transfers. On the farmers’ side, they are not using the fertilizer as per recommended levels and also they are using only one of the two, mainly Dap. This is again largely caused by the price of fertilizer.

Suggested Citation

  • Kefyalew Endale, 2011. "Fertilizer Consumption and Agricultural Productivity in Ethiopia," Working Papers 003, Ethiopian Development Research Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:etd:wpaper:003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xiaobo Zhang & Shenggen Fan, 2001. "Estimating Crop-Specific Production Technologies in Chinese Agriculture: A Generalized Maximum Entropy Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(2), pages 378-388.
    2. Vernon W. Ruttan, 2002. "Productivity Growth in World Agriculture: Sources and Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 161-184, Fall.
    3. Yonas Alem & Mintewab Bezabih & Menale Kassie & Precious Zikhali, 2010. "Does fertilizer use respond to rainfall variability? Panel data evidence from Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 165-175, March.
    4. Kim, H Youn, 1992. "The Translog Production Function and Variable Returns to Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 546-552, August.
    5. Assefa, Admassie & Gezahegn, Ayele, 2010. "Adoption of Improved Technology in Ethiopia," Ethiopian Journal of Economics, Ethiopian Economics Association, vol. 19(1).
    6. Banerjee, Anindya, 1999. " Panel Data Unit Roots and Cointegration: An Overview," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 607-629, Special I.
    7. Demeke, Mulat & Kelly, Valerie A. & Jayne, Thomas S. & Said, Ali & Le Vallee, Jean-Charles & Chen, H., 1998. "Agricultural Market Performance and Determinants of Fertilizer Use in Ethiopia," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 55599, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abate, Gashaw T. & de Brauw, Alan & Minot, Nicholas & Bernard, Tanguy, 2015. "The impact of the use of new technologies on farmers’ wheat yield in Ethiopia: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial:," IFPRI discussion papers 1462, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Abate, Gashaw Tadesse & Rashid, Shahidur & Borzaga, Carlos & Getnet, Kindie, 2015. "Rural finance and agricultural technology adoption in Ethiopia: Does institutional design matter?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1422, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Yu, Bingxin & Nin-Pratt, Alejandro & Funes, José & Gemessa, Sinafikeh Asrat, 2011. "Cereal production and technology adoption in Ethiopia:," IFPRI discussion papers 1131, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Alan de Brauw, Gashaw Tadesse Abate & Nicholas Minot, 2016. "The Impact of the Use of New Technologies on Farmers’ Wheat Yield in Ethiopia: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235651, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Koru, Bethlehem & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2015. "Cereal productivity and its drivers: The case of Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 75, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Berhane, Guush & Minten, Bart & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2015. "Agricultural growth in Ethiopia (2004-2014): Evidence and drivers:," ESSP working papers 81, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Bachewe, Fantu Nisrane & Koru, Bethlehem & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2015. "Productivity and efficiency of smallholder teff farmers in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 79, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Birouke Tefera & Frehiwot Worku & Zewdu Ayalew, 2012. "Implications of Oil Price Shocks and Subsidizing Oil Prices to the Ethiopian Economy: A CGE Analysis," Working Papers 008, Ethiopian Development Research Institute.

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