On-farm Diversity and Characterization of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Landraces in the Highlands of West Shewa, Ethiopia

Firdissa Eticha, Woldeyesus Sinebo, Heinrich Grausgruber

Abstract


Barley has a long history of cultivation in Ethiopian highlands. In Dandi and Jeldu districts, barley is the major staple crop and it is deeply rooted in the socio-cultural lifestyle of the communities. Over centuries, natural and human selection resulted in a huge diversity of landraces. This diversity, however, is subject to serious genetic erosion. A survey was carried out to record the status of barley landraces. In total, 14 landraces were described by farmers. However, only four of them are still cultivated. Environmental factors, e.g., degradation of soil fertility, were main factors for the loss of diversity. Preservation of landraces is influenced by their end-use, market demand and price. Recently, some more input demanding landraces which are usually grown around homesteads were replaced by potato. Regeneration of soil fertility, re-introduction of lost landraces and improvement of landraces are suggested for the restoration of barley diversity in Dandi and Jeldu districts.

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