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Implementation and Case Studies

Science Forum 2018 Case Study // Examining Tradeoffs in the Allocation of Biomass Energy Sources to Domestic and Productive Uses in Ethiopia

By Dawit Mekonnen, Elizabeth Bryan, Tekie Alemu, Claudia Ringler. Rural households in Ethiopia have limited options to meet their domestic energy needs because they lack access to modern fuels and technologies. This study looked at the tradeoff between the use of biomass such as cow dung, fuel wood, and crop residues for domestic cooking and heating purposes, instead of leaving the biomass on the field to improve soil organic matter.

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The results show that the use of dung as a domestic fuel source has reduced farm productivity in Ethiopia, as soil organic matter is being removed from the field to meet household energy demand, a problem that is not solved by increased use of chemical fertilizers due to complementarities in chemical fertilizers and soil organic matters. Farm households, particularly women and girls, spend quite significant number of hours a week in search for fuelwood to meet domestic energy demand, a time that could have been used in productivity-enhancing activities. The amount of time households spend in search of fuelwood, cow dung, and crop residues does not meaningfully differ by households’ access to electricity because in many households, electricity is being used primarily for lighting purposes.

On the other hand, the use of on-farm fuelwood is associated with increased value of agricultural output. On-farm production of fuelwood appears to increase the value of crop output and provide labor savings, by making fuelwood collection more convenient for households. Policy interventions to support the expansion of agroforestry and increase access to new energy-efficient technologies are needed to ensure that agricultural productivity can be both increased and sustained (Mekonnen et al., 2017).



January 2017


Agricultural Economics, Volume 48, Issue 4, July 2017, Pages 425-435


More on the Nexus in Ethiopia

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Research Papers, Publications and Books

The Global Food-Energy-Water Nexus

By Paolo D'Odorico, Kyle Frankel Davis, Lorenzo Rosa, Joel A. Carr, Davide Chiarelli, Jampel Dell'Angelo, Jessica Gephart, Graham K. MacDonald, David A. Seekell, Samir Suweis, Maria Cristina Rulli. Water availability is a major factor constraining humanity's ability to meet the future food and energy needs of a growing and increasingly affluent human population. Water plays an important role in the production of energy, including renewable energy sources and the extraction of unconventional...

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Nexus Project Bolivia // Working together to develop the water, energy and food security sectors

The contradictory development objectives for water, energy and food security in Bolivia generate conflicts of interest between ministries, and also between authorities and institutions in the provinces and municipalities: each institution wants to support especially its sector, be it water, energy or rural. For this reason, planning is needed that transcends different sectors, such as that sought by governments at the national and local levels.

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Le Barrage de Fomi // Potentiel pour Un Projet d’Intérêt Commun

Par Luca Ferrini & Lucia Benavides. Cet article explique comment le projet de barrage de Fomi, qui a récemment regagné le monumentum, marque une grande opportunité d'intégrer l'approche Nexus dans le processus de planification comme un outil d'aide à la décision. Situé en Haute Guinée, à la tête du bassin du Niger et dans une zone aride affectée par le changement climatique et l'insécurité, la construction du barrage de Fomi poserait à la fois de nombreux risques et défis ainsi que des...

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