Maize inputs in Ethiopia include mainly improved seed and fertilizers. The use of pesticides (including fungicides, herbicides and insecticides) is insignificant and available data are sparse. Therefore, below we only analyze available data on the use of improved seed and fertilizers.
In order to see the patterns of diffusion across the country, we conducted an analysis of CSA dataFootnote 4 on use patterns of improved seed across major maize growing administrative regions of Ethiopia – viz. Amhara, BSG, Oromia, SNNP, and Tigray. Owing to the size of maize area, Oromia, followed by Amhara and SNNP, have the largest amount of improved seed usage.Footnote 5 The share of total MVs used in Oromia region during 2010–12 was 49 % of the total; Amhara and SNNP accounted for 33 and 18 %, respectively, with BSG and Tigray both receiving <1 % each.Footnote 6
Table 4 depicts the percent area coverage by MVs in Ethiopia between 2004 and 2013. The area covered by MVs varied according to regions and years. The Amhara Region has shown consistently higher percentages of coverage through the 10 year period. For example, the area under MVs was 24 % in 2004, compared to 55 % 10 years later. This was followed by SNNP and Oromia, in that order. The national average also followed consistent upward trends, especially over the last 5 years. The national average maize area under MVs in 2013 was 40 %, compared to 16 % in 2004. This is a far cry from reports in the distant and recent past (MOA 1984; Langyintuo et al. 2011; Spielman et al. 2013). Most recent studies and adoption monitoring surveys of DTMA suggest that the total maize area covered by MVs is more than 65 % (CIMMYT 2014) but these have mostly sampled only limited households in the central rift valley and cannot reflect the national picture.
The federal government-owned company ESE has been the largest supplier of foundation and certified seed in the country until recently. Regional government-owned companies, including the ASE, OSE, and SSE have also entered the seed market in recent years.
The role of the private sector has been limited in the past and private seed companies have been affected by limited technical capacity, lack of land and capital, inadequate access to breeder seed of publicly-bred varieties, less competitive seed pricing, and lack of clarity on freely marketing their materials (Alemu 2010; Alemu et al. 2010; Spielman et al. 2013).
Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed (Ethiopia)Footnote 7 has been an important supplier of hybrid seed since the mid-1990s; its annual average market share between 2004 and 2013 was 21.1 %. National small seed companies and community-based organizations (CBOs) such as Meki-Batu Union (MBU) have also entered the maize seed market in recent years. The combined seed market share of parastatals (ESE, ASE, OSE, and SSE) in 2014 was 63 %, compared to 31 % for Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed (Ethiopia), 4 % for CBOs, and 2 % for all national small seed companies combined. MBU is the only CBO marketing maize seed in Ethiopia. Small national seed companies marketing improved maize are represented by Avallo, Ano Agro-Industry, Gadisa Gobena Farm, Hadia, and Ethio VegFru. The southern Africa-based regional seed company, SeedCo, has recently started marketing the maize variety Duma (SC 403) through its local representation by Alemayehu Makonnen Farm. Two new seed companies from India – Advanta Seeds and CP Seeds registered new maize varieties in 2013 but have not started marketing them.
Historically, Ethiopian farmers have used organic fertilizers (such as farmyard manure, compost, crop residue, and household refuse) for agricultural production. Today, commercial fertilizer use is the dominant input that goes with modern varieties. All of Ethiopia’s mineral fertilizer is imported. Based on CSA data for 2004 to 2013, we estimated that about 23 % of the total mineral fertilizer in Ethiopia is applied to maize. Mineral fertilizers in Ethiopia are marketed as DAP (di-ammonium-phosphate) and urea. Potassium fertilizers are not considered to be important in Ethiopian agriculture, as there is a perception that Ethiopian soils are not deficient in this element. Historical data show that, on average, DAP accounts for about 64 % of the total volume of fertilizer used, with urea accounting for the remaining 36 %. We converted the two products into N and P equivalents and report here the total N and P consumption, the area fertilized and application rates.
Figure 5 shows the overall N and P consumption by maize in Ethiopia between 2004 and 2013. The total nutrient consumption on maize in 2013 was 68,000 MT compared to 20,000 MT in 2004 – a more than 3-fold increase. In other words, fertilizer consumption increased at an annual rate of about 12 % over the 10 years. Overall, N and P accounted for approximately 67 and 33 % of this, respectively.
Oromia and Amhara accounted for 43 % each of the total nutrient consumption, with SNNP, Tigray and BSG receiving about 11, 2 and 1 %, respectively, of the total fertilizer in 2013.
Table 5 depicts the average maize area covered by mineral fertilizers in different regions of the country between 2004 and 2013. An average of 69 % of all maize grown in 2013 in Ethiopia received some amount of mineral fertilizer application, compared to 56 % in 2004. There were appreciable differences in the maize area receiving fertilizer application among the regions. For example, about 92 % of the area planted to maize in Tigray and 85 % in Amhara received fertilizer in 2013 whereas Oromia, SNNP, and BSG showed lesser area coverage of 67, 61, and 41 %, respectively. In other words, the fastest growth in the area covered by mineral fertilizers was in Oromia (with an annual growth rate of 3.0 %), followed by SNNP (2.6 %) and Tigray (1.3 %); annual growth rates in the maize area covered by fertilizer for Amhara (0.7 %), and BSG (0.1 %) were less appreciable. The overall annual growth rate for Ethiopia was 2.3 %. The relatively lesser growth rate in area coverage for Amhara is because it was already high even in 2004 (Table 5).
Application rates showed appreciable differences across regions and years both for the overall national average as well as for those who do apply fertilizers (Table 6). The overall application rates more than doubled for all administrative regions and the country as a whole between 2004 and 2013; application rates for those who do apply fertilizers changed little over the course of the 10 years, perhaps with the exceptions of Amhara and SNNP. These two regions showed the fastest annual rates of growth of application rates both for the national average (and those who do use fertilizers) of 8.7 % (4.5 %) and 9.7 % (4.2 %), respectively.
The national average for all growers is 34 kg/ha of N and P nutrients. This falls short of the NEPAD recommendation of 2006 (also known as Abuja Declaration) that suggested 50 kg/ha (Wanzala 2011). Obviously, the national application rate of 68 kg/ha in 2013 by those who use fertilizers (and throughout the 10 years’ period) is higher than the NEPAD recommendation. However, both of these still fall short of the national recommendation of about 110–130 kg/ha of N and P nutrients (or the equivalent of 150–200 kg/ha of urea and 100–150 kg/ha of DAP), depending on the variety (higher rates are recommended for hybrids). This suggests that, most often, farmers do not always implement the whole package of technologies. The implication of this is that priority for policy makers must be expanding fertilizer use to areas that have not been covered previously, which at present account for more than 30 % of the total maize area in Ethiopia.
We also observed appreciable variation among the regions in the use of organic fertilizers on maize. Application rates were extremely low – averaging about 45 kg/ha - and showing little change over the 10 years (not shown in the table). However, there was a persistent decline in the percent area covered by organic fertilizers across the regions and years (Table 7). The national average declined from 27 % in 2004 to 18 % in 2013, an average annual negative growth rate of 2.9 %. This has been the case for all regions but some were more seriously affected than others. For example, the annual growth rates for SNNP, Amhara, BSG, and Oromia declined by 6.2, 4.9, 3.8, and 1.3 %, respectively. Tigray maintained its highest percentage of area under organic fertilizers over the years but the 2013 level was much lower than that in 2004 (Table 7).
The declines in the area covered by organic fertilizers may be attributed to one or both of two things. First, there has been a general decline in the unit area of land available for animal grazing, particularly in the highlands, over the last several decades and therefore associated declines in the number of animals (cattle in particular) kept per family. Second, cow dung is widely used as fuel by farmers or sold as an important source of immediate income. It is also possible that the availability of mineral fertilizers at affordable prices might have also contributed to the decline in the use of organic fertilizer.
To quantify the contribution of the various factors to increases in maize productivity in Ethiopia, we ran regression analyses using grain yield as a dependent variable and each factor as an independent variable (Table 8). We observed significant correlations between maize yield with percent area under MVs, percent area under N and P fertilizers, N and P application rates for all maize growers, and percent area under organic fertilizer. Correlations between yield and application rate by those using fertilizers were non-significant for Ethiopia and all regions.
There were obvious regional differences for many of the variables tested. For example, area under MVs was significant at P < 0.001 probability level for Ethiopia, Amhara and SNNP whereas it was significant at P < 0.01 for Oromia and BSG and non-significant for Tigray. Area under N and P fertilizer was highly significant (P < 0.01) for Ethiopia and SNNP, significant (P < 0.05) for Oromia and Amhara and non-significant both for Tigray and BSG. The overall N and P application rate was highly significant for Ethiopia (P < 0.001) and Amhara (P < 0.01); significant for Oromia, SNNP and BSG (P < 0.05), and non-significant for Tigray (Table 8).
There was a highly significant negative correlation between yield and area under organic fertilizer for Amhara (P < 0.001), and SNNP and BSG (P < 0.01), and significant correlation at the national level (P < 0.05). Correlations for Tigray were non-significant (Table 8). Declines in the area covered by organic fertilizers may be a consequence of increases in the availability and use of inorganic fertilizer.