Household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil in integrated crop-livestock farming systems

a case study in Kumbursa village, Central Highlands of Ethiopia

Dugassa Negash, Assefa Abegaz, Jo U Smith, Hailu Arya, Bogale Gelana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Soil amendment with organic wastes in the Highlands of Ethiopia has been greatly reduced by widespread use of dung cakes and crop residues as fuels. This study assessed the interaction between household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil using household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct observations and measurements between 2014 and 2015 in Kumbursa village (Central Highlands of Ethiopia). All surveyed households were entirely dependent on biomass fuel for cooking, with production and consumption rates directly related to wealth status, which significantly varied (p<0.001) among three farm wealth groups (poor, medium and rich). Crop residues and dung cakes accounted for 80(±3)% by energy content and 85(±4)% by dry mass weight of total biomass fuel consumption. Mean losses were 59(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 nitrogen (109(±8) kg y-1 per household), 13.9(±0.3) kg ha-1 y-1 phosphorus (26(±2) kg y-1 per household), 79(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 potassium (150(±11) kg y-1 per household) and 2100(±40) kg ha-1 y-1organic carbon (3000(±300) kg y-1 per household). Rich farmers lost significantly more carbon and nutrients in fuel than farmers in other wealth groups. However, these losses were spread over a larger area, so losses per land area were significantly higher for medium and poor than for rich farmers. This means that the land of poorer farmers is likely to become degraded more rapidly due to fuel limitations than that of rich farmers, so increasing the poverty gap. The estimated financial loss per household due to not using dung and crop residues as organic fertilizer was 162(±8) US$ y-1. However, this is less than their value as fuels, which was 490(±20) US$ y-1. Therefore, farmers will only be persuaded to use these valuable assets as soil improvers if an alternative, cheaper fuel source can be found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1588-1601
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Change Biology. Bioenergy
Volume9
Issue number10
Early online date28 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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household energy
livestock farming
Ethiopia
farming system
Farms
Nutrients
recycling
Crops
Recycling
villages
households
highlands
village
livestock
farming systems
case studies
Soils
crop
Carbon
farmers

Keywords

  • dung cakes
  • crop residues
  • biomass fuel
  • Ethiopian Highlands
  • household energy
  • soil fertility

Cite this

Household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil in integrated crop-livestock farming systems : a case study in Kumbursa village, Central Highlands of Ethiopia. / Negash, Dugassa; Abegaz, Assefa; Smith, Jo U; Arya, Hailu; Gelana, Bogale.

In: Global Change Biology. Bioenergy, Vol. 9, No. 10, 10.2017, p. 1588-1601.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Soil amendment with organic wastes in the Highlands of Ethiopia has been greatly reduced by widespread use of dung cakes and crop residues as fuels. This study assessed the interaction between household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil using household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct observations and measurements between 2014 and 2015 in Kumbursa village (Central Highlands of Ethiopia). All surveyed households were entirely dependent on biomass fuel for cooking, with production and consumption rates directly related to wealth status, which significantly varied (p<0.001) among three farm wealth groups (poor, medium and rich). Crop residues and dung cakes accounted for 80(±3){\%} by energy content and 85(±4){\%} by dry mass weight of total biomass fuel consumption. Mean losses were 59(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 nitrogen (109(±8) kg y-1 per household), 13.9(±0.3) kg ha-1 y-1 phosphorus (26(±2) kg y-1 per household), 79(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 potassium (150(±11) kg y-1 per household) and 2100(±40) kg ha-1 y-1organic carbon (3000(±300) kg y-1 per household). Rich farmers lost significantly more carbon and nutrients in fuel than farmers in other wealth groups. However, these losses were spread over a larger area, so losses per land area were significantly higher for medium and poor than for rich farmers. This means that the land of poorer farmers is likely to become degraded more rapidly due to fuel limitations than that of rich farmers, so increasing the poverty gap. The estimated financial loss per household due to not using dung and crop residues as organic fertilizer was 162(±8) US$ y-1. However, this is less than their value as fuels, which was 490(±20) US$ y-1. Therefore, farmers will only be persuaded to use these valuable assets as soil improvers if an alternative, cheaper fuel source can be found.",
keywords = "dung cakes, crop residues, biomass fuel, Ethiopian Highlands, household energy, soil fertility",
author = "Dugassa Negash and Assefa Abegaz and Smith, {Jo U} and Hailu Arya and Bogale Gelana",
note = "Acknowledgements We are grateful to the farmers of Kumbursa village for their wholehearted cooperation in providing genuine responses to interview questions during the household survey. We are also thankful to the Development Agent of Kumbursa village, Mr Dinku Chala, for facilitating our relations with farmers of the study area and for participating in data collection. We are indebted to Addis Ababa University and AUC funded Afri-Flame project (Adaptation of small-scale biogas digesters for use in rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa) for their joint financial support. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to the staff of Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center for their cooperation in nutrient content analysis of crop residues and dung cakes. Finally, we owe our heartfelt indebtedness to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which greatly contributed to the improvement and final refinement of this paper",
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N1 - Acknowledgements We are grateful to the farmers of Kumbursa village for their wholehearted cooperation in providing genuine responses to interview questions during the household survey. We are also thankful to the Development Agent of Kumbursa village, Mr Dinku Chala, for facilitating our relations with farmers of the study area and for participating in data collection. We are indebted to Addis Ababa University and AUC funded Afri-Flame project (Adaptation of small-scale biogas digesters for use in rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa) for their joint financial support. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to the staff of Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center for their cooperation in nutrient content analysis of crop residues and dung cakes. Finally, we owe our heartfelt indebtedness to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments which greatly contributed to the improvement and final refinement of this paper

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N2 - Soil amendment with organic wastes in the Highlands of Ethiopia has been greatly reduced by widespread use of dung cakes and crop residues as fuels. This study assessed the interaction between household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil using household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct observations and measurements between 2014 and 2015 in Kumbursa village (Central Highlands of Ethiopia). All surveyed households were entirely dependent on biomass fuel for cooking, with production and consumption rates directly related to wealth status, which significantly varied (p<0.001) among three farm wealth groups (poor, medium and rich). Crop residues and dung cakes accounted for 80(±3)% by energy content and 85(±4)% by dry mass weight of total biomass fuel consumption. Mean losses were 59(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 nitrogen (109(±8) kg y-1 per household), 13.9(±0.3) kg ha-1 y-1 phosphorus (26(±2) kg y-1 per household), 79(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 potassium (150(±11) kg y-1 per household) and 2100(±40) kg ha-1 y-1organic carbon (3000(±300) kg y-1 per household). Rich farmers lost significantly more carbon and nutrients in fuel than farmers in other wealth groups. However, these losses were spread over a larger area, so losses per land area were significantly higher for medium and poor than for rich farmers. This means that the land of poorer farmers is likely to become degraded more rapidly due to fuel limitations than that of rich farmers, so increasing the poverty gap. The estimated financial loss per household due to not using dung and crop residues as organic fertilizer was 162(±8) US$ y-1. However, this is less than their value as fuels, which was 490(±20) US$ y-1. Therefore, farmers will only be persuaded to use these valuable assets as soil improvers if an alternative, cheaper fuel source can be found.

AB - Soil amendment with organic wastes in the Highlands of Ethiopia has been greatly reduced by widespread use of dung cakes and crop residues as fuels. This study assessed the interaction between household energy and recycling of nutrients and carbon to the soil using household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, direct observations and measurements between 2014 and 2015 in Kumbursa village (Central Highlands of Ethiopia). All surveyed households were entirely dependent on biomass fuel for cooking, with production and consumption rates directly related to wealth status, which significantly varied (p<0.001) among three farm wealth groups (poor, medium and rich). Crop residues and dung cakes accounted for 80(±3)% by energy content and 85(±4)% by dry mass weight of total biomass fuel consumption. Mean losses were 59(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 nitrogen (109(±8) kg y-1 per household), 13.9(±0.3) kg ha-1 y-1 phosphorus (26(±2) kg y-1 per household), 79(±2) kg ha-1 y-1 potassium (150(±11) kg y-1 per household) and 2100(±40) kg ha-1 y-1organic carbon (3000(±300) kg y-1 per household). Rich farmers lost significantly more carbon and nutrients in fuel than farmers in other wealth groups. However, these losses were spread over a larger area, so losses per land area were significantly higher for medium and poor than for rich farmers. This means that the land of poorer farmers is likely to become degraded more rapidly due to fuel limitations than that of rich farmers, so increasing the poverty gap. The estimated financial loss per household due to not using dung and crop residues as organic fertilizer was 162(±8) US$ y-1. However, this is less than their value as fuels, which was 490(±20) US$ y-1. Therefore, farmers will only be persuaded to use these valuable assets as soil improvers if an alternative, cheaper fuel source can be found.

KW - dung cakes

KW - crop residues

KW - biomass fuel

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KW - household energy

KW - soil fertility

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JO - Global Change Biology. Bioenergy

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SN - 1757-1693

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ER -