Ethnobotany and Nutritional Value of Two Domestic Yams (Dioscorea spp.) in Abaya Woreda, Southern Ethiopia

Baressa Anbessa Erena, Itefa Degefa Alemu


Background: From a food security perspective, yam is an important crop in the tropics and subtropics, where it produced both as a subsistence crop and on a commercial scale. This study aimed to assess the ethnobotanical knowledge and nutritional values of two domestic yams in Abaya Woreda, southern Ethiopia.

Methods: Data were collected from sixty informants in three kebeles. From each kebele, the most productive top twenty farmers were selected by researchers based on their potential cultivation of yams with the assistance of Development Agency (DA). Ethnobotanical data were collected by semi-structured interviews and edible tubers and bulbils of these crops were collected for nutritional analysis at the Hawassa University Food Laboratory. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using MS-Excel and SPSS.

Results: The results showed that farmers of Abaya Woreda have indigenous knowledge about forms of consumption, meal preferences, medicinal use, storage mechanisms and propagation systems of yams. Significant variation was observed in knowledge of edible plant parts and methods of tuber preservation for propagation in the study area. Similarly, the nutritional content of the crops showed variation in some of the measured parameters. For instance, Dioscorea bulbifera had higher carbohydrate content and total energy although it was the lower in moisture content.

Conclusions: The present study has attempted to document ethnobotanical knowledge and nutritional values of two domestic Dioscorea species in Abaya Woreda, which should get attention by farmers, researchers, governmental and nongovernmental bodies in order to increase the food potential and indigenous knowledge in the study area. For the results presented here may help to conserve yam germplasm and create awareness about the importance of these crops to alleviate food insecurity.

Key words: ethnobotany, nutritional value, yam, Abaya woreda.

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