Diversity, challenges and management of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) by Kembatta people, southern Ethiopia
Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is an endemic multipurpose Ethiopian crop with a potential for food security for it grows in areas where there is a high population pressure and scarce cultivable land. Studies indicate that pests and diseases are among the challenges to sustainability of enset agriculture. A survey on diversity, challenges and management of enset was conducted in Kambatta Tembaro Zone. Twelve farmscapes each with 15 sampling sites were randomly selected for the study. The identification of enset landraces and recording of data on criterion for landraces identification and selection, and cultural management practices were conducted with the help of farmers using interviews, questionnaire and group discussion. Shannon Index (H’) and multiple linear regression, and ANOVA were employed to analyze the data. Farmers’ characterization identified a total of 111 named enset landraces, of which 21 had medicinal value. There was high significant difference (P<0.01) in enset landraces among economic classes and agroclimatic zones. Dega agroclimatic areas cultivated twice the number of enset landraces in kola areas (mean = 11.5/HH). The number of enset landraces per farmscapes ranged from 8 to 61 with an average of 27.3 whereas the mean Shannon (H') and evenness (E) indices were 1.84 and 0.64 in the zone, respectively. Multidimensional preference ranking showed that amicho, fiber quality, storability, yield, and earliness were useful in discriminating enset landraces. Enset diversity increased with access to market and wealth status of the households. Wild mammalian pests, enset bacterial wilt, and shortage of farmland were challenges to sustainability of enset agriculture. Apposite attention should be given by the government to incorporate enset in the current extension system. Furthermore, experts in ethnobotany, anthropology, microbiology and other appropriate fields should work together with the local people for a workable solution.
Keywords/phrases: Amicho, Characterization, Enset diseases, Landraces, Preference ranking