Concerns on Mismatches between Environments of Selection and Production of Crop Varieties in Ethiopia
Crop production plays a significant role in the Ethiopian economy. The sub-sector\'s output has, however, been very low partially due to the biophysical challenges constraining productivity in smallholder farms and inadequate technological interventions. Genetic modification of crops to improve productivity is preferred to the continual manipulation of the growing environment because of cost particularly to the large majority of resource-poor farmers who cannot afford for production inputs. Consideration of varietal selection vis-à-vis actual target production environment is vital to maximizing gains from breeding efforts. The tradition across most of the breeding programs in Ethiopia is to develop varieties under optimum management despite the fact that marginal management characterizes the ultimate target production environments. Whether selection under optimum management is likely to result in better productivity gain than under the actual target production environments is a crucial issue in varietal development. This paper discusses the logical framework for breeding success and the conventional approach to varietal selection and its challenges in Ethiopia. Based on the analyses, the paper proposes that the wheel of the current variety development schemes should be redirected and made more objective and focused towards better serving the major target beneficiaries, i.e. the resource-poor farmers.
Keywords: Direct Selection; Indirect Selection; Selection Environment; Target Environment
East African Journal of Sciences Vol. 1 (2) 2007: pp. 93-103
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