Diagnosing on-farm wood production through MSc research in Southern Ethiopia

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Focus Group Discussion with farmers in the study site (© Fentale)

I am Bonsa Fentale, an MSc student at the department of Agroforestry and Soil Management in Wondo Genet College of Forestry & Natural Resources of Hawassa University, Ethiopia. My research aims at diagnosing the current state of wood production in the area. It emanated from the idea that the current available forest resource will not satisfy the current increasing wood demand in Ethiopia. My thesis contributes to the WoodClusterproject working on closing the wood supply gap.

The study was conducted in Sidama Zone, currently transforming to be the tenth Regional states in Ethiopia. Located in the Sidama Zone, Chefasine Kebele was selected as it is one of the tree growing areas in the area. My study contributes to the knowledge gap that the amount of wood that contributes to household consumption and marketing is unknown. Other production aspects like silvicultural practices and other production factors which have significant role in farm wood production are also unknown.

I used both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to obtain necessary data. Field observation, key informants interview, household interview and focus group discussion were the qualitative methods used with semi-structured questionnaire. Quantitative data included inventory woodlot data. Before the start of the research, contextual information about the area was collected from officials and experts at the Zonal, District and Kebele level in year 2018. Chefasine Kebele is structured into six sub-villages or also known as “development groups”. For the purpose of the household interviews, 100 households spread in three sub-villages were sampled.

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Agroforestry practices, homegarden, boundary planting and woodlot were the most common practices of tree planting in the area. The objectives of growing trees were mostly to meet household energy consumption and to sell. There were no common tree establishment and management practices known by the farmers in Chefasine Kebele. This made the quality and uniformity of wood production low. Chefasine has a lack of appropriate materials for tree planting and weak extension work in tree management aspects. The amount of wood produced for consumption and marketing was quantified. This provides insights to derive recommendations to improve tree production in Chefasine.

Throughout my thesis research, I did not find enough and recent literature, which made it challenging. During the field work itself, transportation was a challenge due to the road condition in the village.

Finally, I appreciate the people in Chefasine who collaborated with me and contributed to the success of my field work. I appreciate seeing how farmers in Chefasine diversify their livelihood strategies. Their initiative and willingness to grow trees for different production objectives is a positive contribution to the local wood supply. However, its production at the area is still in the state of traditional subsistence level, which implies that training in silvicultural practices and innovative instruments are needed to improve wood production in the future.

By Bonsa Fentale

 

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