Diversity and conservation of enset (Ensete ventricosum Welw. Cheesman) and its relation to household food and livelihood security in South-western Ethiopia
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Abstract</font>Agriculture in Ethiopia is characterized by diverse farming practices. Farmers with various ethnic background and cultural diversity living in the country's diverse agro-ecological zones have developed farming systems, characterized by a high degree of species diversity. The enset based farming system is one of these. It can be found in South-western part of the country. The research, on which this thesis is based, was carried out in the Kaffa Shaka zone among 240 households.<font size="2"></font>The domestication, production and use of enset is restricted to Ethiopia. Enset is a crop with multiple uses both for food and non-food applications. It is the most widely used staple food in the country, feeding millions of people. It plays a central role in the economic, social and cultural life of the diverse ethnic people in the south and south-western part of the country. Although it forms the core of the cropping system of many farmers, available information on the crop is limited, and largely descriptive and anecdotal.<font size="2"></font>The research, which is the subject of this thesis, was aimed at exploring issues of enset genetic diversity as related to use at a household level and its relevance for food security and sustainable livelihoods. It seeks to make an assessment of the diversity that exists in the crop and to identify of linkages between conservation and use based on the primary data on socio-economic and conservation issues collected at a household level. It attempts to test the following hypothesis: by maintaining enset diversity, a subsistence farmer can secure food self-sufficiency and therefore a positive relationship exists between conserving the diversity in enset and household food and livelihood security . The hypothesis constitutes the central theme of the study and the collection and analysis of the primary data converged upon it. While putting these issues in the wider context of the livelihood system of enset farmers, a number of research questions were raised and answered in the different chapters of the thesis.<font size="2"></font>The first research question dealt with whether enset diversity contributes to household food security and livelihoods of farm households. Our results confirmed that enset is a food security crop and also a status symbol in the study area. The ownership of a large number of enset plants and a diverse number of clones are major criteria for farmers in categorizing households according to different wealth status. Over a third of the studied households were found food insecure with little or no land, relatively few enset plants and with insignificant clonal diversity. On the basis of the research findings, this thesis argues that although households are food secure as long as they have enough enset plants and sufficient clonal diversity, they are not necessarily secure in terms of income and livelihood. Hence, food secure households, as indicated by enset wealth, are not always livelihood secure. The ownership of other resources such as livestock and land for the production of other crops for additional income is vital for livelihood security.<font size="2"></font>The second research question focused on valuing of local knowledge, i.e. how farmers encourage diversity in enset, and how they select or classify clones for various use aspects. Enset farmers since the domestication of the crop allegedly some 10,000 years ago, have used their traditional knowledge to maintain and enrich the diversity in the crop. The diverse ways in which the crop is used for (food, fiber, animal feed, construction, etc.) are examples of the use of the diversity by local farmers. Identification and selection of the various clones are done by both men and women farmers. The criteria for selection by men and women vary slightly. Men usually select for higher yield, longer maturity and disease resistance, while the women select for early maturity, good taste and quality of the product and disease resistance. However, both men and women are keen on maintaining as much diversity as possible regardless of the preferred characteristics. They also classify clones into male and female ones according to their characteristics. The female plant is selected by the women for daily household consumption or for sale. The number of female plants maintained is also slightly higher than the male plants, which confirms the characterization of enset as women's crop. As a tradition, farmers in Kaffa also exchange clones and knowledge associated with the crop with neighbors, relatives or kin to increase the diversity in their backyard.<font size="2"></font>The role of gender in the production, processing and marketing of enset was the focus of the third question. Our study shows that there are clear gender differences in the management of enset genetic diversity. Women play a dominant role in the production, processing and marketing of enset. They have a tremendous knowledge of the diversity in the crop. There is a slight difference between men and women when prioritizing clones according to uses, which is indicative of the difference in interest for different qualities of the crop. When data on the division of labor were analyzed, women clearly dominate in the production, processing and marketing of enset. Men are involved in land preparation, planting and transplanting. As regards decision-making, women are less involved in major decisions made at the household although they dominate most of the production activities in enset. Women decide on the harvesting time and on the use of income from the sale of enset products. Decisions on the purchase of agricultural equipment, adoption of new cultivation techniques, income from the sale of other crops and livestock are made by the men. Other decisions, such as purchase of clothing and additional food for the household, are shared. In general, men have more decision-making power and also control over the greater portion of the household's income.</font>The fourth question dealt with the impact of population increase on the cultivation of enset. Our results show that there is a high rate of population growth in the study area. Due to the existence of high forest coverage in the region, farmers up until now are hardly affected by land shortage as compared to farmers in other areas, because they extend their farmland by clearing the nearby forests. The availability of cultivable land has encouraged polygamy and having many children. Thus, we found a positive association between household size and landholding in the area. However, this situation is unlikely to continue as resources are limited and there are more and more new households formed each year claiming land. In one of the two woredas studied, which is also characterized by having more polygamous households and where there is more forest degradation, farmers are complaining that there is shortage of land. This result shows that the area devoted to enset and other crops is declining, exposing farmers to food and livelihood insecurity. We also recorded that there is lack of awareness about family planning and limiting the number of children in each household. This thesis concludes that: (i). The increase in family members should coincide with land availability; (ii). Farmers should be aware of family planning in order to limit their family size; (iii). Polygamous marriage should gradually be avoided; (iv). Farmers should be aware of conserving forests instead of burning to extend their farmland.Research question five dealt with the use of tissue culture techniques such as micro-propagation and in vitro conservation for enset growing farmers. The importance of enset to Kaffa farmers from a social, cultural and food security perspectives , has been stressed in earlier chapters of this thesis. However, there are many problems surrounding enset production and farmers have lost a fairly large number of clones because of disease, selection pressure or to changes in land use systems. Our results show that over 95 percent of the farmers demand planting stocks of various clones. They need a backup system, which can complement the traditional methods of propagation and conservation. In our study the use of tissue culture was thus found indispensable to meet those needs. In vitro conservation through slow growth and rapid propagation protocols for enset were successfully developed. This will allow the conservation and rapid propagation of enset for the production of disease free germplasm and for efficient breeding programs. It will also allow farmers to get sufficient planting materials of interest, which will enable them to produce more and increase their selection options. When materials are stored in vitro , farmers will have an insurance against man-made and natural erosion, which threatens their production.The last research question dealt with how farmers' classification of clones correlates with results of a scientific method based on molecular marker techniques. Farmers' methods of classification and selection have formed the basis for collections maintained so far, be it in farmers' or researchers' fields. Most of the genetic diversity in the crop is maintained in situ (on-farm) by farmers. The farmers' characterization system is functional and serves to characterize and maintain clones in view of their various purposes (food, fiber, medicine, etc.). Characterization and use are thus closely related. As part of this theses, the correlation between the farmers' characterization system and a molecular genetic study were analyzed. A mildly positive correlation was obtained between the two classifications providing the necessary information for an efficient strategy for the management of enset diversity. More duplication of clones (given in Chapter 11) was observed in the molecular analysis. In most of the cases, the names given by farmers based on the attributable characters of the crops are consistent and matched the molecular analysis. Lack of complete matching of the two systems might be attributed to the way farmers characterize the crop in more detail and the use criteria they apply in selection of the various clones. As the farmers' characterization system is functional, they select for specific genetic traits, whereas molecular approach scored neutral diversity as well. This thesis thus emphasizes that indigenous knowledge plays a vital role in selection, characterization and maintenance of enset genetic diversity in direct relation to its use.
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Analysis of enset (Ensete ventricosum) indigenous production methods and farm-based biodiversity in major enset-growing regions of southern EthiopiaTsegaye, A.; Struik, P.C. (2002)Enset (Ensete ventricosum) production is declining, and it faces genetic erosion due to drought, diseases and population pressure. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and additional formal survey studies on 315 households were conducted over three consecutive years (1998–2000) in the Sidama, Wolaita and Hadiya ethnic regions of southern Ethiopia to assess traditional cultivation methods, analyse the production systems, and evaluate farm-based enset biodiversity. The regions differ in terms of cultural background, resources, farming systems, population density, and agro-ecology. Furthermore, the methods for initiating suckers and the frequency of transplanting vary among the three regions. Diverse enset landraces were identified in the Sidama (52), Wolaita (55) and Hadiya (59) regions. Sidama farmers had the highest number of landraces per farm, 57nd 21␖ore than found on Wolaita and Hadiya farms respectively. In all three regions, landrace diversity was influenced by household resources, cultural background, population pressure, and agro-ecology. There were significant differences in the average number of enset landraces and livestock between rich and poor households in the three regions. Rich farmers had more land and manure-producing livestock, and they planted more enset landraces than did poor farmers. In all three regions, women proved to be more experienced than men in identifying enset landraces. The number of enset landraces per farm was significantly correlated with other household characteristics for resource-rich Sidama farmers and with the number of livestock and area of farmland for resource-rich Hadiya farmers. This suggests that middle-income or poor farmers concentrate on annual crops, rather than on growing the perennial enset plant. More research is needed to identify, characterize and conserve genetic diversity, and to improve the cultivation practices for enset. The cultural, socio-economic, and gender-associated aspects of enset cultivation need to be assessed to understand the dynamics of enset biodiversity
On indigenous production, genetic diversity and crop ecology of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman)Tsegaye, A. (s.n.], 2002)<DIR><DIR><DIR><strong>Keywords</strong> : Enset, staple, indigenous knowledge, genetic diversity, AFLP, characterisation, conservation, Leaf Appearance Rate, Radiation Use Efficiency, yield potential, transplanting, leaf pruning, fermentation, 'kocho', food security<font size="4"> </DIR></DIR></DIR></font>The indigenous enset-farming complex of the south and southwestern highlands of Ethiopia has supported a higher population density than any other farming system. Enset ( Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) has been cultivated as (co-)staple food for about 7-10 million people. Since the last three decades, however, because of population pressure, recurrent drought and diseases there has been degradation of natural resources and, thus, the system failed to sustain the population. In the study, described in this thesis, the indigenous enset production methods, farm-based enset biodiversity and the plant characteristics and environmental factors influencing productivity were analysed to identify yield potentials and constraints in Sidama, Wolaita and Hadiya. The ultimate goal was to develop improved agronomic practices and enhance the use of the existing genetic diversity to reduce the gap between the actual yield and yield potential. Some indigenous cultivation methods vary among regions: initiation of suckers, frequency of transplanting, leaf pruning and planting patterns. Morphologically diverse enset clones were identified in Sidama (52), Wolaita (55) and Hadiya (59). Among 146 clones, a total of 180 AFLP fragments was scored of which 104 (58%) appeared polymorphic. The AFLP-based dendrogram showed more duplication groups than the farmers' characterisation method suggesting that farmers overestimate the genetic diversity. The correlation between the two methods was only weak. Yet, the comparison between the AFLP-based and farmers-based characterisation methods showed that some aspects such as absence of clear regional clusters and clustering of clones with various prefixes to a single group corresponded well. Duplications in the clones identified by both methods may be safely removed from a conservation programme. Variation in farmers' skill in discriminating between clones may suggest that the areas where the people's culture is closely associated with the crop, should receive high priority for collecting clones or serving as sites for in situ conservation. Plant height and LAI of different clones increased faster at Awassa or Areka than at Sidama because of a higher leaf appearance rate associated with temperatures being closer to the optimum. This led to higher early interception of photosynthetically active radiation and higher dry matter production. The mean extinction coefficient was between 0.56<FONT FACE="Symbol">-</font>0.91 and radiation use efficiency (RUE) ranged from 1.43<FONT FACE="Symbol">-</font>2.67 g MJ <sup><FONT FACE="Symbol">-</font>1</SUP>. Yield potential differences between clones existed, mainly because of differences in RUE. The average ratio actual yield : yield potential (0.24) suggest that much can be done to reduce the yield gap. Transplanting suckers directly into permanent field shortens the period until maturity, provides a reasonable yield soon after removing the suckers from the mother corm and reduces the chance of attack by disease or pests. The partitioning of dry matter to the harvestable parts, the harvest indices at different states of processing and the losses caused by scraping or fermentation, however, became more advantageous as a result of repetitive transplanting. At flowering, harvest indices based on fermented enset products of once, twice and three times transplanted suckers were 0.20, 0.35 and 0.25, respectively. Leaf pruning or the interaction between leaf pruning and transplanting did not significantly affect dry matter partitioning, harvest index or processing losses. The maximum fresh weights of kocho after fermentation from enset plants transplanted once, twice and thrice were respectively 25.9, 54.1 and 37.1 kg plant <sup><FONT FACE="Symbol">-</font>1</SUP>. In terms of weight and energy, enset is the most productive crop in the country, sweet potato is second, taro is third and Irish potato is fourth. The cultivation of enset in densely populated areas under low-input conditions can sustain the population better than that of any other crop. Moreover, enset produces various by-products and the prolonged presence of a closed canopy has an ecological advantage similar to that of forest. This study combines indigenous technical knowledge, agronomic, physiological and molecular studies. It has contributed significantly to the understanding of the production methods and the genetic diversity. It has also investigated some strategies to reduce the gap between the actual yield and yield potential. Furthermore, it has underlined the relevance of physiological studies by generating basic physiological parameters. The information gained in this study also helped to underline future research topics.
Traditional Enset (Ensete ventricosum) processing techniques in some parts of West Shewa Zone, EthiopiaHunduma, Tariku; Ashenafi, Mogessie (St. Mary's University, Ethiopia, 2016-02-01)Enset, (Ensete ventricosum Welw) Cheesman, plant serves as a staple food for about 20% of Ethiopian population. Processing of enset for food is based on traditional knowledge of the people and varies among different enset growing regions. The objective of the present study was, therefore, to assess and document indigenous knowledge of traditional enset processing method in one of enset growing areas of West Shewa Zone, Ethiopia. The study was conducted using Participatory Research Appraisal (PRA) system. which involved 132 respondents in the high altitude and 126 in the mid-attitude sites. The major processing steps, including, the traditional tools used, selection of mature enset plants, preparation of fermentation pits and clearing of processing spots, pulverization and decortication, bulla extraction, gamma preparation, storage of processed biomass in the pit were described. Matured enset plants were identified by locally established maturity signs, such as, size of the central shoot, appearance of inflorescence and exposure of the corm. Among the respondents, 62.1% of those in the high altitude and 93.6% in the mid altitude areas affirmed that enset plant 1 EIAR, Ambo Agricultural Research Center, P. O. Box, 37, Ambo, Ethiopia firstname.lastname@example.org 2 Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, P.O.Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia email@example.com 38 Tariku Hunduma and Mogessie Ashenafi reaches maturity between the age of four and seven years, while the remaining of the respondents claimed that it takes eight or more years to reach maturity. Traditionally, enset fermentation takes place in an earthen pit. October to early December was considered to be the appropriate time for processing. Traditional knowledge of enset processing has been generally owned by women and the processing is normally unthinkable without them, signifying their role in securing food supply for the households. Traditional enset processing is tedious, labour intensive, unhygienic and is done using local tools with a lot of similarities in basic steps of processing among different localities. This age-old processing of enset would require the concerted effort of food microbiologists and food processing technologists to lessen the pressure on women and to avoid spoilage during fermentation in order to produce wholesome products. The important traditional practices of enset processing that have been revealed during the present study could be utilized as an information to improve the traditional processes, thus, eventually contributing to food security.