Food Security

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1631–1648 | Cite as

Analysis of maize biomass use in Ethiopia and its implications for food security and the bioeconomy

  • Tilahun Woldie MengistuEmail author
  • Saurabh Gupta
  • Regina Birner
Original Paper


Using Ethiopia’s maize production as a case study, this paper examines the uses of maize biomass as a bioeconomy crop, and its implications and challenges for household food security. In the context of this study, bioeconomy refers to the production and utilization of biological resources or biomass to provide products, processes and services. The study followed a mixed methods approach that involved a household survey covering 322 randomly selected farmers, key informant interviews and focus group discussions in Ethiopia. We examined the implication of intensity of biomass use on farm household food security using an endogenous switching regression model. The study found multiple areas of use of maize biomass, although many of them were underdeveloped and underutilized. Model results further showed a positive and significant effect of diversification of use of biomass on the food security of farm households. Raising the quantity of maize biomass is important to enhance farm household food security as it allows farm households to increase the amount of biomass allocated for individual use and also to use it for diverse purposes. Yet, a broad set of factors including lack of market access, limited information and extension support on the uses of biomass, and a lack of biomass value-adding technologies have restricted the full potential of biomass utilization. Therefore, this study highlights the importance of provision of these factors in order to unlock the potential of biomass for food security and advance the development of the bioeconomy.


Biomass production Biomass use Food security Endogenous switching regression Markets and extension Institutional innovation 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We, the authors of this manuscript, declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12571_2018_865_MOESM1_ESM.docx (69 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 68 kb)


  1. Abass, A. (2014). Is Africa " ready " for an integrated bioeconomy approach? Rural, 21, 32–33.Google Scholar
  2. Abate, T., Shiferaw, B., Menkir, A., Wegary, D., Kebede, Y., Tesfaye, K., Kassie, M., Bogale, G., Tadesse, B., & Keno, T. (2015). Factors that transformed maize productivity in Ethiopia. Food Security, 7(5), 965–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alemu, D., Rashid, S., & Tripp, R. (2010). Seed system potential in Ethiopia: Constraints and opportunities for enhancing the seed sector. Diagnostic report, International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI. Retrieved from Accessed 16 Jan 2016.
  4. Asfaw, S., Shiferaw, B., Simtowe, F., & Lipper, L. (2012). Impact of modern agricultural technologies on smallholder welfare: Evidence from Tanzania and Ethiopia. Food Policy, 37(3), 283–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baudron, F., Jaleta, M., Okitoi, O., & Tegegn, A. (2014). Conservation agriculture in African mixed crop-livestock systems: Expanding the niche. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 187, 171–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Börner, J., Kuhn, A., & von Braun, J. (2017). Bio-economy in developing countries. ZEF, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Policy Brief, 25, 1–8.Google Scholar
  7. Von Braun, J. (2014). Bioeconomy and sustainable development – Dimensions. Rural 21, 6–9.Google Scholar
  8. Calkins, S. (1983). The new merger guidelines and the Herfindahl-Hirschman index. California Law Review, 71 402 Retrived from
  9. Clarke, R., & Davies, S. W. (1984). On measuring concentration and diversification. Economics Letters, 15, 145–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CSA. (2011). Report on Crop and livestock product Utilization (Volume VII). The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Central Statistical Agency, June 2011, Addis Ababa.Google Scholar
  11. CSA. (2013). Report on livestock and livestock Characterstics (volume II). Central statistical agency, April 2013, Addis Ababa.Google Scholar
  12. CSA. (2014). Report on crop and livestock product utilization (volume VII ). Central statistical agency, September 2014, Addis Ababa.Google Scholar
  13. Di Falco, S., Veronesi, M., & Yesuf, M. (2011). Does adaptation to climate change provide food security? A micro-perspective from Ethiopia. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 93(3), 825–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO. (2008). An introduction to the basic concepts of food security I. Social Indicators Research, 95(1), 215–230.Google Scholar
  15. Feeny, S., & Rogers, M. (1999). Market share, concentration and diversification in firm profitability. Melbourne Institute Working Paper No., 20(/99), 1–40.Google Scholar
  16. German Bioeconomy Council. (2015). Bioeconomy policy (part II): Synopsis of National Strategies around the world. A report from the German bioeconomy council. Retrieved from:
  17. Jacquemin, A. P., & Berry, C. H. (1979). Entropy measure of diversification and corporate growth : Wiley stable. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 27(4), 359–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jaleta, M., Kassie, M., & Shiferaw, B. (2013). Tradeoffs in crop residue utilization in mixed crop – Livestock systems and implications for conservation agriculture. Agricultural Systems, 121, 96–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jaleta, M., Kassie, M., & Erenstein, O. (2015). Determinants of maize Stover utilization as feed, fuel and soil amendment in mixed crop-livestock systems, Ethiopia. Agricultural Systems, 134, 17–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jaleta, M., Kassie, M., Marenya, P., Yirga, C., & Erenstein, O. (2018). Impact of improved maize adoption on household food security of maize producing smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. Food Security, 10(1), 81–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lokshin, M., & Sajaia, Z. (2004). Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching regression models. The Stata Journal, 4(3), 282–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lule, D., Kaba, W., Degefa, A., Degefa, K., Negash, M., Mekonnen, K., et al. (2012). Optimizing livelihood and environmental benefits from crop residues in smallholder crop–livestock systems in western Oromia. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), (11), 31.Google Scholar
  23. Maddala, G. S. (1983). Limited-dependent and qualitative variables in economics (pp. 257–291). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mekonnen, D. K., Bryan, E., Alemu, T., & Ringler, C. (2017). Food versus fuel: Examining tradeoffs in the allocation of biomass energy sources to domestic and productive uses in Ethiopia. Agricultural Economics, 48(4), 425–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Minot, N. (2013). Grain export bans in theory and in practice. REAP policy note. International food policy research institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC. Retrieved from
  26. MOA & ATA. (2017). Seed System Development Strategy Vision, Systemic Challenges, and Prioritized Interventions. Working strategy document. Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Transformation Agency of Ethiopia.Google Scholar
  27. Mohr, A., Beuchelt, T., Schneider, R., & Virchow, D. (2015). Food security criteria for voluntary biomass sustainability standards and certifications. Biomass and Bioenergy, 89, 133–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Müller, A., Weigelt, J., Götz, A., Schmidt, O., Alva, L. I., Matuschke, I., & Beringer, T. (2015). The role of biomass in the sustainable development goals: A reality check and governance implications. Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). IASS Working paper, 1–35.Google Scholar
  29. Powers, D. (2007). Censored regression, sample selection, endogenous switching, and treatment-effect regression models, 1–29.Google Scholar
  30. Rashid, S., Getnet, K., & Lemma, S. (2010). Maize Value Chain Potential in Ethiopia. Constraints and opportunities for enhancing the system. Diagnostic report, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Retrieved from
  31. Shiferaw, B., Kassie, M., Jaleta, M., & Yirga, C. (2014). Adoption of improved wheat varieties and impacts on household food security in Ethiopia. Food Policy, 44, 272–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Taffesse, A. S., Dorosh, P., & Asrat, S. (2011). Crop production in Ethiopia : Regional patterns and trends. Ethiopian strategy support program( ESSP II). Working paper no. 0016 (pp. 53–82. Retrieved from). International Food Policy Research Institute
  33. Tegegne, A., Gebremedhin, B., Hoekstra, D., Belay, B. & Mekasha, Y. (2013). Smallholder dairy production and marketing systems in Ethiopia: IPMS experiences and opportunities for market-oriented development. IPMS (improving productivity and market success) of Ethiopian farmers project working paper 31. Nairobi: ILRI.Google Scholar
  34. Teklewold, H., Kassie, M., Shiferaw, B., & Khlin, G. (2013). Cropping system diversification, conservation tillage and modern seed adoption in Ethiopia: Impacts on household income, agrochemical use and demand for labor. Ecological Economics, 93, 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Virchow, D., Beuchelt, T., Denich, M., Loos, T. K., Hoppe, M., & Kuhn, A. (2014). The value web approach – So that the south can also benefit from the bioeconomy. Rural 21, 48(3), 16–18.Google Scholar
  36. Von Braun, J. (2009). Food-Security Risks Must Be Comprehensively Addressed. IFPRI Annual Report Essay 2008–2009, 1–12. International Food Policy Reserch Institute,(IFPRI).
  37. Warner, J., Stehulank, T., & Kassa, L. (2015). Woreda -level crop production rankings in Ethiopia : A pooled data approach. In International food policy research institute (IFPRI ) research report. Addis: Ababa. Retrieved from
  38. WB. (2010). Handbook on impact evaluation. In Quantitative methods and practices. World Bank: Washington DC. USA.Google Scholar
  39. WFP. (2008). Food consumption analysis. Calculation and use of the food consumption score in food security analysis. Technical guidance sheet. World Food Programme, 53(9). In Reterived from. Scholar
  40. Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. and International Society for Plant Pathology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tilahun Woldie Mengistu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Saurabh Gupta
    • 2
  • Regina Birner
    • 1
  1. 1.Hans-Ruthenberg InstituteUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Center for Development Policy and ManagementIndian Institute of ManagementUdaipur (IIM Udaipur)India

Personalised recommendations