Achievements, experiences and strategies on enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) research in Ethiopia
Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is a perennial, herbaceous and monocarpic crop belonging to the family Musaceae. Enset based farming is an indigenous and sustainable agricultural system in Ethiopia with a total of 312,171.98 hectares of land under cultivation. The production and productivity of enset is affected by various biotic and abiotic stresses. Enset research activities have been initiated since the 1970s at different institutions. Currently, the research is nationally coordinated by Areka Agricultural Research Centre (AARC). Accordingly, the centre has been coordinating more than fifty research activities on five research objectives. The objective of this paper was to review the status of enset research and development, and provide strategies for transforming the sector. With regard to the crop improvement, the following have been sorted out: clonal identity using farmers’ classification, collection and maintenance of enset germplasm, morphological and molecular characterization of enset clone, evaluation of enset varieties for drought tolerance and best quality and yield of kocho and amicho. Regarding the agronomy part, studies on comparison of whole, halved and quartered corms for planting, frequency of transplanting, spacing for planting enset on permanent field and soil fertility management have been carried out. Other attempts were also made on epidemiology and pathogenicity of EBW, and identification and control of other pests and diseases such as root mealy bug, and identification of some tolerant clones. Technologies on enset processing were developed such as: enset decorticator, squeezer and grater and all these findings and technologies have been well documented in the form of manuals, posters and leaflet forms and distributed to stakeholders and end users across enset producing zones. In order to sustain the benefits of the research and development, the project is organizing training programs and extension activities to sensitize and enhance capacity building of the farmers.
Keywords/phrases: Diversity, Enset, Enset Bacterial Wilt (EBW), Genetic resources, Strategies