SORGHUM RESEARCH

Ethiopia is a center of origin and diversity for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench). The country contributed considerable a number of genetic resources for the global germplasm collections and genes. The crop is primarily grown as a food crop used for preparation different food types mainly leavened bread (Injera) and other food products. The grain is also used for the preparation of locally prepared alcoholic beverages (e.g. tala and areke). Like the grain the biomass of sorghum is equally important to be used for feed, construction and energy source.

Sorghum stands third in area coverage next to tef and maize and second in total production next to maize. It covers 16 percent of the total area allocated to grains and 20 percent of the area planted to cereals. Sorghum in Ethiopia is grown in three major agro-ecologies. It is the major crop in the dry lowland environment which accounts for more than 60 percent of the cultivated land. As it is grown in the diverse environments, the productivity of sorghum is constrained by a number of biotic and abiotic factors. The major constraints in the dry lowlands are drought, striga low forage quality and plant biomass. In the highland and intermediate environments mainly head and leaf diseases are the major impediments. In addition, stalk borer, midge, shoot fly, low soil fertility are contributing to the low productivity of sorghum.

BRIEF HISTORY OF SORGHUM RESEARCH

Sorghum research in Ethiopia started in 1953 at the then Jimma Agricultural Technical School (JATS), which is now called Jimma University In 1957, the program moved to the then Alemaya College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts now called Haramaya University, where a formal research was started. The establishment of the Ethiopian Sorghum Improvement Project (ESIP) in 1972 in Adama (the then Nazareth) can be considered as the landmark for the establishment of formal research on sorghum in Ethiopia. In 1982, ESIP assimilated to the EIAR (the then IAR) and founded as one of the national program to lead the sorghum research based at MARC. Currently, the research program is coordinating research activities that are implemented at 20 research centers representing the diverse sorghum growing environments. The program established strong collaboration and partnership with national, international and regional institutions and universities. It has strong collaboration with PURDUE and Kansas State Universities and ICRISAT. The program is also recently, implementing a collaborative project with the University of Queensland in redesigning the breeding program and implementation of advanced techniques to enhance genetic gain.

MAJOR OUTPUTS

Since the establishment of the program more than 50 sorghum varieties have been released. Among which 23 sorghum varieties and 4 hybrids were released for the dry lowland environment. The varieties were recommended with appropriate agronomic practices including plant population, fertilizer application and other crop management packages. In collaboration with different national and international institutions demonstration and scaling out of improved sorghum varieties, particularly striga resistant and drought tolerant varieties have been carried out. Currently, the striga resistant varieties Gobiye and Abshir, and drought tolerant and high yielding varieties Melkam, Dekeba, Meko, and Teshale are popular varieties in the dry lowlands. Recent study revealed that the number of farmers growing both improved lowland varieties reached 28%. Though the result is encouraging, it commends that much work to be done to enhance the adoption of improved sorghum production technologies.

VISION

To be a leading sorghum research program in the region in generating high quality information, knowledge, technologies that contributes for improved livelihoods and sustainable development.

MISSION

To adapt, generate, develop and promote sorghum production technologies while enhancing the capacity to use modern technologies in technology generating and strengthening linkage among all actors involved in the value chain for increasing sorghum productivity, food, feed and malt quality for sustainable development of sorghum industry.

GOAL

To increase the productivity and production of sorghum through development and deployment of improved sorghum technologies for enhanced livelihood and sustainable development

PIPELINE DEVELOPMENT PLAN

The national sorghum improvement program introduced different approaches that are useful to increase genetic gain and increasing the efficiency of the breeding program. This involves:

Implementation of targeted breeding focusing on local landraces

Six product types that are targeting the end users were identified being carried out in three government funded projects. The program has four externally funded project that are aligned with the identified product types. The product types are as follows:

Product type 1. Local landraces with Striga resistance and stay green traits introgressed varieties for dry lowlands,

Product type 2. Early maturing varieties with acceptable yield, quality and biomass production and resistant to striga for the dry lowlands,

Product type 3.High yielding hybrids with acceptable quality and biomass production and resistant to striga for dry lowlands,

Product type 4. Long duration OPVs with acceptable grain yield and striga and anthracnose resistance for wet lowlands,

Product type 5. Long duration OPVs with acceptable grain yield and anthracnose resistance for highlands

Product type 6. Intermediate maturing OPVs with acceptable grain yield, grain mold and anthracnose resistance for intermediate agro-ecologies with high rainfall

 

New statistical design introduced to handle a large number of genotypes per trial at early stage of phenotyping

Trial size in the program increased to 500 genotypes per trial. Partially replicated design (PreP) introduced in order to handle this large set of genotypes. In order to account the special variation spatial analysis being used, which is useful in increasing heritability thereby accuracy of selection of the right genotypes to the target environment.

Use of advanced tools to collect data

As the number of genotypes per trials increased significantly, the tradition had recording of trial data could not be effective and subjected to error during data collection. Field scorer and using tablet or mobile apparatus used 16 of the collaborating centers. The program is also using Active Konnect to automatically measuring yield.

Capacity to use molecular markers in sorghum breeding

The program established facilities to prepare tissue for genotyping including lyophilizer, geno-grinder, and labeller). This helped to genotype more than 3000 sorghum landrace collections and breeding lines). In addition, market assisted backcrossing for introgression of striga and anthracnose resistant genes and stay green traits in the background of farmers preferred genotype have started.

Near infrared (NIR) for high throughput screening for Injera making quality

NIR calibration has been done for early generation selection of sorghum for selected product types (Injera making) quality.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Taye Tadesse Mindaye (PhD)

Coordinator, National Sorghum Research Program,

MARC

Mob. +25194 747 4357

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

NATIONAL LOWLAND PULSES RESEARCH PROGRAM

The most important lowland pulses (LLP) which include common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L) Millsp.) and mung bean (Vigna radiate (L.) Wilczek). National coordination of LLP research was started at MARC (the then Nazareth) at early 1970s. Common bean is considered a priority crop and received higher attention in the technology generation and promotion.

OBJECTIVES 
The general objective of lowland pulses research program is to contribute to the improvement of livelihood of smallholder farmers and enhance foreign currency earnings of Ethiopia through generation and promotion of improved demand driven and climate-smart lowland pulse technologies and information.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

§  To increase production and productivity of LLP crops through generation of high yielding consumer preferred and tolerant to major biotic and abiotic stresses

§  To modernize the breeding program through integration of molecular breeding with conventional breeding techniques To generate pest management technologies for major LLP pests

§  To assess the socioeconomic feasibility, input and output marketing and support institution adoption pathways and impact, of lowland pulse technologies

§  To improve research capacity of LLP research program To strengthen coordination and collaboration with national, regional and international institution

Achievements in variety generation

Substantial number of lowland pulses varieties have been released by the national program and partner research entities. Nationally, 13 commercial types mainly white pea bean, and 37 varieties of beans of different colors have been generated for local consumption. Likewise, three mung bean varieties targeted for export market and nine cowpea varieties for local use were released.  

Released varieties of lowland pulses

No

Type of pulse

Export type

Food type

No. of released varieties*

1

Common bean

13

37

50

2

Cowpea

9

9

3

Mung bean

3

3

4

Pigeon pea

1

1

5

Adzuki bean

1

1

Total

 

 

 

64

* Excluding four obsolete varieties

Agronomic Recommendations

§  Plant population for lowland pulses

§  Fertilizer recommendations

§  Bio-fertilizer (inoculant) recommendation for common bean

§  Cropping system option of lowland pulses

§  Soil conservation practices (tie ridger)

Crop Protection Recommendations

§  Cultural control methods for diseases, weed and pre and post-harvest insects have been recommended, These include:

§  Identify chemical control options for:

§  Pre- and post-emergence herbicides for control of weeds

§  Field insect pests and storage (bruchids)

§  Host plant resistance for major diseases, insect pest (bean fly, bruchids)

§  Botanicals for the control of majors pest have be also recommended

§  IMP for control diseases, insect pest and weeds

Food Science Studies and Recommendations

§  Food recipes: major dishes such as Shiro, soup, samosa and split beans stew

§  Cooking property of beans (cooking time, hardness, water absorption, un-hydrated seed of released varieties

§  Nutritional compositions of different common bean varieties

Technology Promotion

Multi-stakeholder driven seed systems have been underway since 2004 in collaboration with Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). This effort has been strengthen with the Tropical Legume (TL II and III) projects since 2008. The projects have achieved the following results:

§  Engage multiple stakeholders/partners (private individual farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, exporters/ traders, public seed enterprises, private seed producers, etc.)

§  Enhanced skills and knowledge of partners

§  Engaged of Agricultural professional at different levels

§  Increased amount of foundation seeds

§  Accelerated the application integrated crop management practices Facilitated the establishment and functions of common bean innovation platforms across the nation

Future Research Direction

The breeding and genetics research in the future will focus to bring genetic gain in lowland pulse crops to generate lowland pulse varieties resistant for multiple constraints (diseases, pests, N, P), nutrient rich varieties, good market demand and adaptable to new production niches by using convectional and modern breeding techniques.

 

CONTACT ADDRESS

Birhanu Amsalu (PhD)

Coordinator, MARC National Lowland Pulses Research Program,

P.O. Box: 436, Adama

Tel: +25122 225 0219/20

Mob.: +25191 137 8930

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

IMPROVED MAIZE TECHNOLOGIES FOR MOISTURE-STRESSED, HEAT-PRONE AND IRRIGATED AREAS OF ETHIOPIA

Maize is an important staple crop in Ethiopia, ranking first among cereals in total grain production (29.5%) and second in area coverage. The crop is widely cultivated in most parts of the world, over a wide range of environmental variables signifying its global and regional importance to millions of people. In Ethiopia, maize growing agro-ecologies are broadly classified into four major categories: mid-altitude sub-humid (1000-1800 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l), transitional highland to highland sub-humid (1800–2400 m.a.s.l.), lowland moisture stress areas (300–1000 m.a.s.l.) and lowland sub-humid (<1000 m.a.s.l.). Maize research at Melkassa tailored to work for lowland moisture stress areas (300–1000 m.a.s.l.). Since the start of the research undertaking a number of improved maize varieties have been released.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE

To generate and transfer need based, competitive and highly marketable maize production, storage, processing and utilization technologies (improved varieties for yield, nutrition content and industrial use traits, improved protection and management practices) moisture stress areas in Ethiopia.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

§  To develop and promote high yielding, stress tolerant and widely/specifically adapted open pollinated varieties and hybrids with desirable agronomic, pro vitamin A and quality protein attributes for drought and heat prone agro-ecologies

§  To promote improved maize technologies in collaboration with different stakeholders/partners

§  To enhance and promote protection and management related practices in an integrated manner in collaboration with different partners in drought and heat prone agro-ecologies.

§  To renew and conserve breeding materials, to increase and maintain true to type breeder seeds of released maize OPVs, and hybrids' parents; and make available for pre-basic and basic seed production.

§  To identify and promote crop protection and management related practices

MAJOR OUTPUTS

The project has released and promoted seven OPV and three hybrid improved maize varieties.

Maize Varieties Released by the Dryland Maize Research Project

Type

Variety

Year of

release

Altitude

(m)

Rainfall

(mm)

Days to

maturity

Seed

color

Yield (q/h)

Research

station

Farmers’ field

Hybrid

MH130

2012

500-1800

600-1000

120

white

60-70

50-60

MHQ138*

2012

500-1800

600-1000

140

White

75-80

55-65

MH140

2013

500-1800

600-1000

140

White

85-95

65-75

OPV

Melkasa-1

2000

500-1800

600-1000

90

Yellow

35-45

25-35

Melkasa-1Q

2013

500-1800

600-1500

91

Yellow

35-45

25-35

Melkasa-2

2004

500-1800

600-1000

130

White

55-65

45-55

Melkasa-3

2004

500-1800

600-1000

125

White

50-60

45-50

Melkasa-4

2006

500-1800

600-1000

105

White

35-45

30-35

Melkasa-5

2008

500-1800

600-1000

125

White

40-50

35-40

Melkasa-6Q

2008

500-1800

600-1000

120

White

45-55

30-40

Melkasa-7

2008

500-1800

600-1000

115

Yellow

45-55

30-40

 

CONTACT ADDRESS

Lealem Tilahun (MSc)

Coordinator, National Lowland Maize Research Program, MARC

P.O. Box: 436, Adama

Mob.: +251 91 216 63135

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

HORTICULTURE

WARM SEASON VEGETABLE RESEARCH PROGRAM

 

OBJECTIVE

This research program is then aimed at boosting vegetable production in the country by solving the existing bottlenecks through technology development which enable to increase productivity and quality for home consumption, processing and export market in sustainable basis.

Vegetable crops research was started by the then National Horticulture Research station at Nazret in 1969. In 1980s, the research activities were organized and strong coordination program was launched at MARC. During that period the center had responsibility of coordinating vegetable research mainly onion, tomato, Capsicums and other warm season vegetables. Whereas Kulumsa, Holeta and Debre Birhan centers focused on cool season vegetables while Debre Zeit was conducting research on Alliums. Following the restructuring of IAR into EARO in 1997, vegetable crops research was recognized as one of the national research programs with four distinct projects tomato, Alliums, Capsicum and indigenous vegetable crops. Another restructuring of the institute was carried out in 2009 and all vegetables were considered as single commodity. Then in 2016 the current structure has been launched as warm season (coordinated from MARC and cool season (coordinated from Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Center) vegetable research programs.

 

Currently warm season vegetable crops research is at the level of program under horticulture research department of crops research process directorate which has nationally been coordinated by MARC. The major vegetables that research program focuses are tomato, Capsicums (hot pepper, sweet pepper, and chili pepper), onion, green beans, cucurbits (pumpkin, watermelon, squash, cucumber and gourd), okra, eggplant and amaranths. The mandate of the national program includes technology generation and adaptation, breeder seed production, germplasm maintenance and enhancement, capacity building and technology demonstration and popularization to end users. Different technologies have been developed and released, demonstrated and popularized to various users in collaboration with different stakeholders.

MAJOR OUTPUT

§  A total of 30 improved varieties of warm season vegetables have been released from MARC. Ninety commercial hybrid vegetable varieties have been registered.

§  A total of about 800 germplasm of major vegetable crops is available and maintained at MARCs.

§  Crop management technologies for edible and seed production packages have been recommended.

§  Improved seed production techniques for major vegetables (onion, tomatoes and hot pepper) developed and agro-ecologies, seed production season and seed production potential of cool season vegetables (carrot, beet root and cabbage).

§  Different vegetable technologies demonstrated, popularized and disseminated to end users.

§  Breeder seeds have been multiplied and distributed to producers onion, tomato, capsicum and snap beans

§  Production guidelines, leaflets and research reports have been produced and distributed to small-scale farmers.

 

FUTURE RESEARCH FOCUS

§  Broaden the genetic base and develop varieties and lines for different purposes (fresh market, processing, export and different production system).

§  Assist conventional breeding with biotechnology tools.

§  Develop technologies that can minimize risk of pests and absorb climate change

§  Develop crop management technologies for different agro-ecologies and production system.

§  Develop technologies that can minimize post-harvest losses

§  Strengthen vegetable production system

§  Strengthen research capacity in human and research facilities

§  Strengthen research coordination and linkage among different stakeholders and institutions

 

CONTACT ADDRESS

Tesfa Binalfew (MSc)

Coordinator, National Warm Season Vegetable Research Program, MARC

P.O. Box: 436, Adama

Mob.: +25191 268 8864

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

NATIONAL TROPICAL FRUITS RESEARCH PROGRAM

OBJECTIVES

§  To collect, introduce and enhance the genetic base and/or diversity of tropical fruit crops

§  To develop and promote crop management options for major tropical fruit crops

§  To develop and promote integrated pest management technologies for major tropical fruits

§  To develop and promote postharvest management technologies and value added products of tropical fruit crops.

§  To deliver relevant technological innovations through scientific research and ensure sensitivity to gender equality and related issues

§  To introduce and develop tropical fruit crop varieties and to increase the genetic base and maintain the diversity of tropical fruit crops

Tropical fruits research was started by the then National Horticulture Research Center at Nazret in 1969. The center was mandated to carry out research on different horticultural crops including tropical fruits and to coordinate the research. In 1980s, the research activities were organized and strong coordination program was launched at MARC. Following the restructuring of IAR into EARO in 1997, fruits research became one of the National Research Programs and an organized project were merged into Tropical and Temperate Fruits commodities. In May, 2017 Tropical Fruit Research program was split and upgraded to Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruit Crops Research Programs through accommodating different projects since then the Tropical Fruit Crops Research Program is being coordinated at Melkassa.

 

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

Sustainable nursery and field management of tropical fruit crops

The project has total of 14 activities on banana, pineapple, date palm and papaya are being implemented under federal (Melkassa, Werer, Mehoni, Tepi, Jimma, and Wondo Genet) and regional research centers (Ariba-Minch, APARI and Humera). The activities are listed below.

§  Pineapple Fertilizer Trial

§  Determination of NPK Fertilizers Rate for Banana in Selected AGP-II Districts

§  Effect of split application of nitrogen fertilizer on growth and yield of pineapple varieties in South Ethiopia

§  Influence of Different Propagation Media and GA3 Treatment on Seed Germination and Seedling Performance of Papaya (Carica papaya L.)

§  Effect of Drip Irrigation and Mulching on Growth, Yield and Fruit Characteristics of Desert Banana

§  Conventional Multiplication and Dissemination of Improved Pineapple Varieties

§  Screening of Salinity Resistant/Tolerant Banana Cultivars Under Salt Affected Field Conditions

§  Effect of Different Mulching Materials on Pineapple Yield and Quality

§  Effect of NPK Fertilization on Growth and Yield of Banana

§  Effect of Different Colored Plastic Bagging Covers on Fruit Yield and Quality of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.)

§  Influence of Sucker Retention Phase and Cutting Height of Parent Pseudostem on follower Suckers’ Yield and Yield Components of Banana

§  Effect of Off-Shoot Weight and Type of Variety on Rooting and Growth Performance of Date Palm

§  Effect of fruit thinning on yield & quality of Medjool date palm (Phoenix dactylifera, L.) variety under Afar condition

§  Effect of time of pollination on fruit yield & quality of Khalas date palm (Phoenix dactylifera, L.) variety under Afar condition

 

Integrated pre and post-harvest pest management of tropical fruit crops

The project has total of seven activities on banana, date palm, papaya and cactus pear are being implemented under federal research centers (Melkassa, Werer and Mehoni). The activities are listed below.

 

Postharvest management and value addition of tropical fruits

The project has total of two activities on date palm and pineapple are being implemented under two federal research centers (Werer and Jimma). The activities are listed below.

 

Technology transfer and agricultural economics of tropical fruits

The project has total of six activities on banana, date palm and papaya are being implemented under federal agriculture research renters (Melkassa, Werer and Wondo Genet). The activities are listed below.

 

ACHIEVEMENTS TOWARDS GTP GOAL

Based on their merits, nineteen improved tropical fruits varieties (twelve bananas, three papayas, two date palms and two pineapples) were released, registered, and/or recommended at different times for production in their respective agro-ecologies. In addition to improved varieties, a total of 529 germplasm of various fruit crops that have been introduced and locally collected are being conserved at different research centers; of which banana comprises 88, papaya 115, pineapple six, date palm (male 166 and female 148), passion fruit six, and a wide range of naturally existing cactus pear accessions

The program has been engaged to develop propagation technologies for major tropical fruits. In vitro micro-propagation protocols were developed for banana and pineapple. The knowledge of propagation technologies have been transferred to users through trainings and extension materials. Various crop management options have been developed for best management practices. Optimum number and size of banana suckers, K and N requirements of banana, bunch bagging and male-bud removal in banana, response of pineapple to inorganic and organic fertilizers, appropriate mulch type, mulching percentages and sucker management in pineapple, and optimum spacing and size of slips of pineapple have been determined to improve yield and quality of fruits. The major diseases and insect pests of major tropical fruit crops have been identified and documented. Cultural practices, heat treatment and numerous fungicides have been recommended for the management of major tropical fruits diseases.

Utilization and quality analyses of some tropical fruits varieties were documented. Recipes of fruits such as cooking bananas were developed. Information about various fruit processing quality characteristics was documented. Solar drying of cooking banana slices was recommended for preservation.

Unlike the biological researches, few researches have been done on the socioeconomics of tropical fruits. Yet, the major production and marketing constraints in the central rift valley areas were identified. Banana market situation in the country was also analyzed. Policy related recommendations were made for the constraints identified.

 

FUTURE FOCUS

§  Adapt or develop varieties for different production system and purposes.

§  Molecular characterization, in vitro and field conservation of major tropical fruits germplasm

§  Ensure availability of recommendations on irrigation, fertigation, macro and micro fertilizers and micro-propagation (date palm) of tropical fruit crops.

§  Identify and document emerging/new pests of major tropical fruit crops and develop integrated management practices.

§  Assess post-harvest losses and their causes, and develop technologies that reduce the losses and extend shelf life for major tropical fruit crops.

§  Document physicochemical and nutritional quality information, and develop different recipes for major tropical fruits.

§  Ensure availability of modest research information and more emphasis being given to GIS and agro-meteorology related research.

§  Strengthen seed technology and planting materials multiplication research across research centers

§  Ensure availability of value chains, gender mainstream, marketing, processing and utilization information for major tropical fruits.

§  Assess adoption rate, impact and feedbacks on disseminated of fruits technologies.

§  Demonstrate and popularize available tropical fruits technologies to various users.

§  Train fruit growers, experts and development agents, and prepare and disseminate extension materials in different local languages to users.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Wegayehu Assefa (MSc)

Coordinator, National Tropical Fruit Crops Research, MARC

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mob.: +25191 222 1974

 

 

SUB-TROPICAL FRUIT RESEARCH PROGRAM

Research on fruit crops is dated back to 1969 with the establishment of the National Horticultural Research Centre at Nazareth. Sub-tropical fruits like Citrus were among the major horticultural commodities with several varietal recommendations made available as early as 1976. Melkassa was mandated to coordinate all horticultural researches by IAR and its contribution has proved reminiscent as a technology and knowledge hub of fruit crops especially on sub-tropical fruit commodities viz., citrus, mango and avocado.

In 1997, fruit research was organized as a research program under the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (EARO) embracing national projects on sub-tropical fruit commodities including citrus and grape vine. Structural reforms were made by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) consolidating these projects as a single national tropical fruits research commodity, which was coordinated by Melkassa, until 2009.

Currently a national sub-tropical fruit research program is established at Melkassa by EIAR as the government increased focus on exportable horticultural commodities. This key structural change is believed to increase the public investment in horticultural research and extension in order to provide high quality, and efficiently deliver research solutions to key bottlenecks of the sector.

VISION

The research program envisaged to be a leading innovation hub that contributes to economic transformation, improved livelihoods and sustainable development.

MISSION

To develop, adapt and promote competitive sub-tropical fruit technologies, innovations and knowledge for improved productivity, nutritional quality and sustainable development of agriculture, agribusiness and agro-industry.

GOAL

To improve the production, productivity and access of sub-tropical fruits in a sustainable manner and contribute towards the betterment of the overall livelihoods of small-holder growers as well as other actors involved across the value chain

PROJECTS

The sub-tropical fruits research program is currently running four research projects aiming at developing and adapting fruit technology packages to increase the productivity of smallholder and commercial fruit growers in accordance to the overall goals of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II, 2016 - 2020) of the country. Focus is given to five major fruit commodities namely citrus, mango, avocado, grape vine and guava. The list of the projects can be referred below:

 

Germplasm enhancement and variety improvement of sub-tropical fruits

§  Introduction of adaptable commercial varieties of sub-tropical fruits to different Agro ecological zones

§  Collection and evaluation of indigenous and naturalized species of sub-tropical fruit crops

§  Increasing the genetic base and conservation of sub-tropical fruit tree species

 

Sustainable nursery and field management of sub-tropical fruits

§  Developing appropriate vegetative propagation protocol and optimum media to multiply sub-tropical fruits

§  Understanding the phenology of sub-tropical fruits and their response for the environmental factors

§  Testing sustainable field and nursery production and management techniques of sub-tropical fruits

 

Integrated pre- and post-harvest pest management of sub-tropical fruits

§  Identification of citrus viral diseases and developing techniques for elimination of citrus viral diseases

§  Integrated pest management of major insect pests including white mango scale, and fruit flies

§  Identification of major post-harvest disease of sub-tropical fruits

 

Multiplication and promotion of sub-tropical fruits technologies

§  Enhancing the availability and scale up the production of improved technologies and practices of sub-tropical fruits

§  Multiplication of initial planting material of sub-tropical fruit technologies

 

MAJOR OUTPUTS OF THE PROGRAM

 

VARIETY AND GERMPLASM MAINTENANCE

Since the establishment of horticultural crops research in Ethiopia, much has been made and research achievements are attained mainly in variety development. Thirty seven different sub-tropical fruits varieties were released/registered with relevant technologies. Details of the varietal technologies are provided in the table below. Furthermore, more than 278 varieties and genotypes of citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, and mandarin, orange), grape vine, mango, avocadoes and guava are currently maintained on research fields across NARS.

Number of released, registered and recommended varieties of fruit crops with their performance at the research centers in comparisons with CSA data in Ethiopia

No.

Crop species

No. of varieties

Variety Name

Yield (t ha-1)

Registration or recommendation year

Research

CSA

1

Avocado (Persia Americana L.)

6

Hass, Ettinger, Pinkerton, Nabal, Fuerte and Bacon

14 - 34

8.13

2008

2

Mango (MangiferaindicaL.)

4

Apple, Kent, Tommy atkins and Keitt

14 - 32

8.0

2007, 2013

3

Sweet Orange (Citrus sinenesis)

7

Jaffa, Washington Naval, Valencia, Hamlin, Olinda Valencia, Pineapple and Ruby orange

42 -55

13.4

1976*

4

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)

4

Clementine, Dancy, Fairchild, Nova

34 - 65

NA

1976*

5

Lime

2

Bears, Mexican

37 - 40

NA

1976*

6

Lemon (Citrus limon)

3

Allen Eureka, UCR improved, Limonoria Lisbon

34 - 40

7.6

1976*

7

Grape fruits (Citrus paradisi)

4

Red Blush, Reed, Shamber and Star Ruby

34 - 59

NA

1976*

8

Tangor/ Tangelo

3

Minneola, Orlando, Ortanique and Temple

36 - 69

 

NA

1976*

9

Citrus rootstocks

4

Volkamariana, Macrophylla, Rough lemon, Rangpur lime

NA

NA

1976*

*= Recommended, NA= Not available;

 

Improved mango variety ‘Tommy Atkins’ (left) and sweet orange variety ‘Washington Naval’ (right)

 

TECHNOLOGY MULTIPLICATION AND PROMOTION

In the last decade, the research program has distributed more than 141,922 grafted mango seedlings and scion wood, 99,075 grafted avocado seedlings/scion wood and 42,840 budded citrus spp. seedlings (Refer table below). In addition, the program has trained more than 2085 different stakeholders and smallholder farmers through various capacity building programs in the last five years.

Summary of number of planting materials cuttings, scions and grafted/ budded seedlings distributed from National Agricultural Research Centers

Fruit Crop

Units

Total planting material distributed

1998/9-2007/8

2008/9-2014/15

Mango

(Grafted seedling + Scion wood)

49,107

92,815

Avocado

(Grafted seedling + Scion wood)

10,771

88,304

Citrus (oranges, lemon, mandarin)

(Grafted seedling + Bud wood)

20,892

 

21,948

Total PM

 

80,770

203,067

 

Similar efforts were made distributed mother stocks of improved mango, avocado, citrus spp. varieties to more than 31 public fruit nurseries located in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNP regional states of the country (see figure below). These, establishment efforts were largely supported by ASARECA fruit tree and nursery validation research project. Business incubation support were made to more than 29 private fruit nursery owned by, youth, women and vulnerable groups operating in the central rift valley of the country.

Areas of the country where true-to-type foundation seedlings distributed to public and private nurseries (left) and practical training of horticultural experts at Melkassa fruit nurseries (right)

 

Some options for managing fruits insect pests such as fruit flies, woolly white flies, red scales, white mango scales, false codling moth on citrus, mango and guava, avocado-cultural, biological, chemical and other control measures recommendation were made. Similarly some fruit crops diseases management options were developed.

 

FUTURE FOCUS

The program has developed a 15-year strategic plan aligned with GTP plans through effective participation of multidisciplinary representative research teams, various stakeholders and research collaborators to serve as a comprehensive platform for the development of a highly competitive sub-tropical fruit crops production sector in the country. These are:

§  implementing strategically aligned research projects on nationally prioritized sub-tropical fruit in areas of variety improvement, sustainable pre and post-harvest production management technologies, technology multiplication and dissemination, agricultural economics and precision based mechanization technologies;

§  extend the current efforts in providing initial planting materials and technical support to cluster based dissemination of mango and avocado in Amhara region (North Shewa, Awi zone and Minjar Shenkora) and Oromia (Central Rift Valley and Wellega areas) to other parts of the country;

§  strengthening the capacity of public and private nurseries to improve availability and access of high quality plating material of sub-tropical fruits; and

§  Establishing and strengthening effective public-private partnership to achieve globally acceptable production, quality, environmentally friendly and safe fruit products

 

CONTACT ADDRESS

Mikias Damtew,

Program Coordinator,

Sub-Tropical Fruit Research Program, MARC

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel.: +25191 100 9731