Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 1091–1104 | Cite as

Enset (Ensete ventricosum) clone selection by farmers and their cultural practices in southern Ethiopia

  • Zerihun Yemataw
  • Hussein Mohamed
  • Mulugeta Diro
  • Temesgen Addis
  • Guy Blomme
Research Article


Enset, Ensete ventricosum, is a crop that contributes to food security for more than 20 % of Ethiopia’s population. One clone never fulfills all the ecological and social requirements and hence farmers maintain a diverse range of enset cultivars on their farm. The objective of this work was to assess morphological and use value related characterization and document the indigenous knowledge of farmers on classification, cultivation and utilization of enset. A total of 280 farm households in seven zones were surveyed using individual household interviews. The observed traits showed low to high levels of variability among enset clones with a Shannon–Weaver diversity index (H′) value of 0.154–0.827 for bulla (extracted starch) quality and midrib color, respectively. Moreover, the overall H′ mean of 0.399 confirmed the existence of low to medium levels of phenotypic variation. The mean squares due to genotypes were highly significant (P ≤ 0.01) for all the quantitative traits studied, suggesting the presence of substantial genetic variability among the 165 enset clones. Kocho (fermented starch) yield had significant positive correlation with bulla quality and plant vigor. Knowledge of farmers’ practices is currently used to validate agronomic innovations and inform the setting up of a network of phenotype collections managed by farmers.


Bulla Diversity Enseteventricosum Indigenous classification Kocho Medicine Propagation 



The authors would like to thank the Southern Agricultural Research Institute and the Canadian International Development Agency for their financial support. The authors also thank all staff and farmers who participated at different stages of the field surveys. The zone and district agriculture departments are also acknowledged for their support during the survey.


  1. Abebe T (2005) Diversity in home garden agro forestry systems of southern Ethiopia. Dissertation, Wageningen UniversityGoogle Scholar
  2. Alemu K and Sandford S (1991) Enset in North Omo region. Farmer’s research technical pamphlet, No.1. Farm Africa, Addis Ababa, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Alemu K, Sandford S (1996) Enset clone. In: Abate T, Hiebsch C, Brandt S, Geberemariam S (eds) Enset-based sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, pp 138–148Google Scholar
  4. Birmeta G (2004) Genetic variability and biotechnological studies for the conservation and improvement of Ensete ventricosum. Dissertation, Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandt S, Spring A, Hiebsch C, McCabe S, Tabogie E, Diro M, Welde-Michael G, Yentiso G, Shigeta M, Tesfaye S (1997) “The Tree Against Hunger”: enset-based agricultural systems in Ethiopia. American Association for the Advancement of Science, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  6. Diro M, Tabogie E (1994) Preliminary investigation on enset culture. In: Herath E, Dessalegn L (eds) Proceedings of the second national horticultural workshop of Ethiopia. Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, pp 120–131Google Scholar
  7. Diro M, Haile B, Tabogie E (1996) Enset propagation research review. In: Abate T, Clifton H, Brandt S, Gebremariam S (eds) Enset-based sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, pp 242–249Google Scholar
  8. Engels J, Hawkes J (1991) The Ethiopian gene centre and its genetic diversity. In: Engels J, Hawkes J, Worede M (eds) Plant genetic resources of Ethiopia. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Haile B, Diro M, Tabogie E (1996) Agronomy research on Enset. In: Abate T, Hiebsch C, Brandt S, Geberemariam S (eds) Enset-based sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia. Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, pp 235–241Google Scholar
  10. Hennink S, Zeven AC (1991) The interpretation of Nei and Shannon-Weaver within population variation indices. Euphytica 51:235–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Negash A (2002) Diversity and conservation of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) and its relation to household food and livelihood security in South-western Ethiopia. Dissertation, Wageningen UniversityGoogle Scholar
  12. Negash A, Niehof A (2004) The significance of enset culture and biodiversity for rural household food and livelihood security in southwestern Ethiopia. Agri Hum Values 21:61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Negash A, Tsegaye A, Van Treuren R, Visser B (2002) AFLP analysis of Ensete clonal diversity in south and southwestern Ethiopia for conservation. Crop Sci 42:1105–1111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. SAS (2002) Statistical analysis systems SAS/STAT user’s guide Version 9 Cary NCGoogle Scholar
  15. Shigeta M (1990) Folk in situ conservation of ensete (Ensete ventricosum (Welw) Cheesman): towards the interpretation of indigenous agricultural science of the Ari, southwestern Ethiopia. Afr Stud Monogr 10:93–107Google Scholar
  16. Spring A, Haile B, Tesfaye S, Abebe Y, Amaldegn A, Wolde-Michael G, Tabogie E, Surur O, Tsegaye A, Shimeles S, Habte T, Menjeye T and Tadesse T (1996) Enset farming system in southern region, Ethiopia: report on a rapid rural appraisal in Guragie, Hadiya and Sidama zones. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mimeo 83 ppGoogle Scholar
  17. Tabogie E (1997) Morphological characterization of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) clones and the association of yield with different traits. MSc., Thesis, Alemaya University, Alemaya, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  18. Tsegaye A (2002) On indigenous production, genetic diversity and crop ecology of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman). Dissertation, Wageningen University Google Scholar
  19. Yemataw Z (2010) Variability study and indigenous classification method of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) clones in southern Ethiopia. MSc., Thesis, Hawassa University, Hawassa, EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  20. Yemataw Z, Mohamed H, Diro M, Addis T, Blomme G (2012) Genetic variability, inter-relationships and path analysis in Enset (Ensete ventricosum) clones. Afr J Plant Sci Biotech 6:21–25Google Scholar
  21. Yeshitla M, Yemataw Z, Muzemil S, Ayalew A, Negash F, Michael K, Bekele A, Chindi A, Gebre TF, Melaku D, Welde MG (2011) Registration of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) varieties Yanbule, Gewada, Endale, Kelisa, Zerita and Mesena. Ethiop J Agric Sci 21:147Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zerihun Yemataw
    • 1
  • Hussein Mohamed
    • 2
  • Mulugeta Diro
    • 3
  • Temesgen Addis
    • 4
    • 6
  • Guy Blomme
    • 5
  1. 1.Southern Agricultural Research InstituteAreka Agricultural Research CenterArekaEthiopia
  2. 2.Awassa College of AgricultureHawassa UniversityHawassaEthiopia
  3. 3.Capacity Building for Scaling Up of Evidence-Based Best Practices in Agricultural Production in Ethiopia (CASCAPE)Addis AbabaEthiopia
  4. 4.Southern Agricultural Research InstituteAwassa Agricultural Research CenterHawassaEthiopia
  5. 5.Bioversity International Uganda OfficeKampalaUganda
  6. 6.Institute of Plant PathologyChristian-Albrechts-UniversityKielGermany

Personalised recommendations