Value Chain Analysis of Lowland Bamboo Products: The Case of Homosha District, Northwestern Ethiopia

Fayera Bakala


Ethiopia is well endowed with bamboo resources and products. To date, however, the contribution of these resources for local and national economies was below its potential. In the Homosha district, despite the abundant and valuable lowland bamboo resources, the livelihood of smallholder farmers in the area was desperate. This study, therefore, was initiated to analyze the value chain of lowland bamboo products from Homosha district (Benishangul Gumuz region). Primary data were collected via household survey from 124 household heads who harvest bamboo products, as well as 10 local traders, 11 craftspersons and 30 end users in three villages via key informant interviews, focus group discussions market assessment and stakeholder consultation workshops. Field observations supplemented by informal discussions were employed to complement and verify the findings. Secondary data comprises various documents on the study area and related materials from the internet were used. It was found that there were three market channels in value chain of lowland bamboo products. The first channel was the channel that directs bamboo products from harvester to local traders to end users/consumers; the second channel directly connects bamboo harvesters and end users/ consumers, while the third channel connects harvesters and end users/consumers via craftspersons. The largest numbers of bamboo culm bundles were transacted through the first channel, while, the third channel, in which relatively more value addition is carried out, stands last in terms of the volume of bamboo transacted. Moreover, it was found that bamboo products have different market concentration ratio, ranging from 51 % for raw bamboo culms to 79 % for bamboo baskets. The transactions of bamboo culms and products took place under a tight oligopoly. Analysis of the market conduct showed that bamboo traders and end users had higher bargaining power in price setting for bamboo products than harvesters with an unequal value addition on the different knots of the value chain. That is, local traders collecting bamboo culms altogether added lowest value per bamboo culm as compared to craftspersons that convert raw bamboo into different products and resulted in highest marketing margin. Value chain of lowland bamboo showed a poor diversification in products and was rather dominated by middlemen. This calls for improving the marketing of lowland bamboo. Attention should be given to three up-grading interventions: (1) widen the market linkage by increasing the bargaining power of the harvesters, (2) improve the market conduct, to make the market more competitive and transparent, and, (3) increasing the capacity of the marketing actors to create innovative value added products of bamboo to the market.

Keywords: Concentration ratio, Marketing channels, Marketing margin, Oxythenanthera abyssinica, Value chain actors, Value addition

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