Tropical Biodiversity and Food Security
Bekele, Endashaw , Birmeta, G .
The contributions of genetic and crop diversity in the food security and livelihood equations of poor farmers in Ethiopia: a case of Eragrostis tef, Sorghum bicolor and Ensete ventricosum.
The factors that determine food security and improve the livelihood of poor farmers through sustainable utilization of genetic diversity are presented as: linkage between the natural and the various agricultural ecosystems, the level of crop gene pools in the traditional farming systems, the existence of genetic resources in indigenous domesticates and their association to each agroecological region. The genetic diversity and value of three indigenous Ethiopian plants domesticates namely Ensete ventricosum, Eragrostis tef and Sorghum bicolour are chosen to show their impact on the livelihood and food security of poor farmers.
The genus Ensete is one of the smallest genera in the plant kingdom and belongs to the family Musaceae, order Zingiberales. Ensete ventricosum is the primary food of over 12 million people in Ethiopia. In south and south west Ethiopia the cultivation area of E. ventricosum overlaps with the distribution area of the wild form. The genetic diversity of both cultivated and wild forms are presented. Ensete is taken as a good commodity for its multi use values, nutritional status, its importance in home garden production system where coffee is also included and existence of diverse clones that show tolerance to various diseases,.
A large portion of the total variation of Ethiopian and Eritrean domesticated sorghum was found with the adaptation zones compared to among the adaptation zones suggesting for a breeding strategy that should be focused on the available variation in each zone to meet the positive contribution of sorghum to food security. The enhancement of the existing genetic diversity, prospecting it with the further of improvement of the multi purpose uses of sorghum are also considered to help in the alleviation of poverty.
In conclusion crop diversity offers an efficient and ecological sound way of improving food security and benefiting farmers applying traditional crop systems in Ethiopia.
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1 - Addis Ababa University, Department of Biology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2008
Time: 10:45 AM