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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Food legume genetic resources in differing agroecological and socio-cultural conditions of Ethiopia

Amsalu Nebiyu Woldekirstos1, Zemede Asfaw2, Asmare Dejen3

1Jimma University, Plant Sciences, Ethiopia
2Addis Ababa University, Dept. of Plant Biology and Biodiversity Management, Ethiopia
3Wollo University, Dept. of Agricultural Entomology, Ethiopia


Food legume crops are grown throughout sub-Saharan Africa by smallholder farmers as sources of food, fodder, and cash income, as well as to improve soil fertility. A diverse farmer named and indigenous legume varieties adapted to changing agro-ecological and socio-cultural conditions is available in Ethiopia. However, over the past several decades, because of the decline in farm size and extension services, new varieties developed by breeders have been aggressively promoted but changes in legume diversity have not been monitored. Based on structured surveys covering variable agro-ecologies and legume smallholder farmers (n = 1296), we investigated the status of inter-and intraspecific legume diversity in major production areas of Ethiopia for five food legumes: common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), field pea (Pisum sativum L.), faba bean (Vicia faba L.), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.). Our results showed that legume species richness increased with altitude, relative household wealth, and land area planted to legumes. The highest numbers of varieties were found for common bean, followed by field pea, faba bean, groundnut, and fenugreek. The average number of varieties planted per household was low (ranging from 1 to 2) and often much lower than the number reported in the same community or zone, which ranged from 2 to 18. For three out of the five species, the number of varieties significantly increased with the total land area planted to legumes. Most legume varieties were rare, planted by less than 1/3 of farmers; however, informants accurately named varieties grown by others in the same community, suggesting that the farmers are aware of legume diversity at the community level. Although the ability to cultivate multiple legume varieties is limited by land size, policies need to strengthen community-level conservation based on the diverse interests and needs of individual households.

Keywords: Agroecology, diversity, genetic conservation, legume spp.

Contact Address: Amsalu Nebiyu Woldekirstos, Jimma University, Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, POB1316 Jimma, Ethiopia, e-mail: anebiy@yahoo.com

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