Conference name, dates, place

2007 International Conference on Ethiopian Development Studies (4th ICEDS) A Multidisciplinary Conference on the Challenges of Peace and Development in Ethiopia & the Horn of Africa, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan (WMU), August 2-4, 2007

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Presentation Date



Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is the fifth most important cereal crop worldwide and it is the third most important crop in Ethiopia. The national average yield amounts 1302 kg/ha. In order to assess the achievement in farmer breeding various types of research were undertaken. These include survey research to quantify the trend in productivity, the level of and reasons for adoption of improved varieties, yield performance and preference evaluation of farmers’ varieties (FVs) and improved varieties (IVs). As per the trend analysis over the last four decades, total production and yield per hectare has increased by 11.63% and 14.2% respectively. However, area allocated to sorghum has decreased over years by -2.93%. The lack of consistent productivity is attributed to the fluctuation of environmental factors. Sorghum production in Ethiopia is predominantly based on varieties developed by farmers. The share of IVs is very low. FVs and IVs are adopted by 87.3% and 12.7% of the farmers respectively. Besides, the adoption of IVs is limited to the lowland crop ecology. The comparative yield of FVs is higher than IVs by 132%. On top of yield, farmers do prefer their varieties for other multipurpose values namely feed, fuel wood and construction material. FVs under production are identified in each wereda. Farmer breeding has been successful compared to four decades of formal breeding. On the other hand, both farmer and formal breeding are not without weaknesses; a comparative balance sheet is outlined for both. Ideotypes for the three major crop ecologies are suggested and integrated plant breeding is anticipated to develop the proposed ideotypes thereby increase sorghum productivity in the region.