National scenario development to narrow down the wood supply gap in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, the rise of population and economic growth increase the demand for wood products for construction and wood fuel consumption. At the same time, the forest resource of the country is limited and extracted with annual average loss of 91,000 ha from 2000 to 2013 (MEFCC 2016). The wood product gap estimates indicate 38.9 million m3 in 2013 (MEFCC 2015).

Consequently, forests are being exploited unsustainable and their potential to contribute to sustainable wood supply is diminished. Recently, the Ethiopian Government implemented programs to increase the country’s tree cover through rehabilitation of natural forests and promoting plantation programs. Despite the increase in the area of forest plantations, there is lack of appropriate silvicultural operation resulting in poor wood quality and low productivity. These problems continue to affect the wood supply capacity of plantations. Hence, it is essential to indicate the future possible scenario options to increase the supply of wood product in order to close the gap between supply and demand in Ethiopia. It is part of an ongoing PhD thesis and the WoodCluster project at TU Dresden.

For developing national scenario options to improve wood product supply consultation, a two-day workshop was conducted in June 2018 s in Addis Ababa. The 33 workshop participants included the state minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, government, non-government and private sector entities involved in wood product industries. For the scenario development qualitative methods based on expert’s participatory approach have been applied. The output of the PhD and project research were used to gain insight into scenario planning for the forest sector development of Ethiopia. Outputs from the previous workshop at value chain level were integrated to support the discussion with practical aspects (Participatory Innovation Platform on Value Chains in Ethiopia).

The status quo of the forestry sector were presented by four presenters and discussed with participants. The presentations comprised the diagnosis of the Ethiopian forest and wood industry sector for sector transformation and national development, an overview of the forest sector in Ethiopia, factors triggering the wood consumption and plantation development activities in Ethiopia.

The experts developed alternative scenarios through interactions on the interests of the key actor group of wood product supply. The final scenarios are: 1) Business as usual 2) Growth and transformation plan, 3) Expert opinion.

Business-as-usual scenario: It builds on historical norms, projecting the configuration of the wood supply for 10 years into the future. The scenario refers to no intervention to forest resource development and wood industry efficiency and capacity to reverse the current trend of wood product supply gap in Ethiopia. The demand for wood products supply will increase with population increase. Natural forest will depleted due to pressure on high forest and woodlands. Imports of wood products increases impacting on foreign supply, no expansion of large scale plantations, no incentives for introducing new technologies. The country will experience serious supply deficit on all wood products fronts except for pole where surpluses will be expected due expansion of small holder plantation.

Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II) Scenario: The government of Ethiopia has committed to implement various policies such as mass mobilization of plantations, expansion of smallholder planation and REDD+ to create incentives for the forest management to substantially increase forest resource and reduce import. Based on the analysis of GTP II plan (2016-2020), the country need to plant vast areas of land for wood product supply in order to satisfy plantation wood demand for industrial purposes, wood and construction and for electric power transmission and telecommunication lines. In addition existing plantations and wood utilization need to be protected and improved. Nevertheless, based on experts’ opinion, the country wood supply deficit will be continuing in the GTP II five year plan.

Experts’ opinion: The target of this scenario is a value addition on wood furniture and import substitution. The relevant actors are the state (Regulators, Policy makers, academic and research institutions), private sector, development partners, Civil society organizations, community and cooperatives (Youth and Women), Public Private Partnerships, traders, processors, consumers (Local, National & International) and national stakeholder’s forum. The relevant factors are land access for the development of out-growers scheme while improving land productivity in reforming the current tenure, labor creating employment for tree growers, access to capital such as credit and collateral development. Additionally, development training and expansion of universities working in the sector are important to improve innovations in products, processes and marketing. The experts expect that with enough safeguards, expansion of plantation and sustainable harvest from residual forests can provide enough wood that would reduce the importation by 20% in the year 2030.

by Busha Teshome



MEFCC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) (2015) Ethiopia Forest Sector Review focus on commercial forestry and industrialization, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

MEFCC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) (2015) Forest change detection and emission-reduction, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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