KARIN ZIPPEL, PETER LÜDDERS
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute for Horticultural Sciences, Section Fruit Science, Germany
Enset (Ensete ventricosum, family Musaceae) is grown in southern and south-western Ethiopia. It provides high starch yields from its leaf sheaths and corm. Therefore, it serves as staple or co-staple crop for about 15 million people. Moreover, it is used for manifold properties in household, agriculture and traditional medicinal treatments. Enset is cultivated between 1500 and 3300 meters altitude among several ethnic groups. It is grown in plantations consisting of several age groups and landraces. Vegetative propagation allows cultivation at high altitudes, when seeds are not developed. It also provides a high number of plants, and homogenous plant material.
Propagation techniques are described for ten regions. At least ten farms were visited in each region and farmers were interviewed about their propagation practices. Results are compared with results of field experiments in 1998-99 on propagation at two altitudes (1850 and 2350m) and three propagation dates (February, April and August).
Vegetative propagation of enset enforces cutting down of an enset plant close to the ground. Afterwards, the apical meristem is removed and leaf sheaths are either removed or pulled apart. This breaks the apical dominance and enables development of callus, from which numerous adventitious sprouts appear after about three months.
Treatments during the propagation process vary regarding climate and ethnic group. This includes (1) uprooting of mother plants, (2) drying the corm, (3) splitting the corm, (4) wounding the apical meristem (5) filling the corm with soil, manure or gravel, and (6) planting, protection and manuring of the propagated corm. All measurements must not be performed. In one region the same mother plant was used two times for propagation. At altitudes above 2800 meters special treatment was mentioned before planting the corm into the final plot. Field experiments did confirm the necessity of different propagation periods regarding different climatic conditions.
Keywords: Climate, Ensete ventricosum, propagation, regional cultures, Ethiopia