Local Customary Use and Management of Ethiopian Potato (Plectranthus edulis (Vatke) Agnew in Sodo Zuria District, South Ethiopia
The Ethiopian potato (Plectranthus edulis (Vatke) Agnew, Lamiaceae) is an under-utilized tuber crop. An ethnobotanical study was conducted on the use and management of P. edulis in Sodo Zuria district, south Ethiopia. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to interview 63 farmers in three locations. In all locations, farmers reported a decreasing trend in the number of local varieties maintained on their farms. The socio-economic status of the households was found to be an important factor affecting conservation and use of the crop. Most farmers (81%), who did not have enough land, used seed tubers from other sources. The study showed a significant relationship between tuber source and age of farmers (chi squared = 15.81, P<0.05). The study also revealed that older farmers were more knowledgeable than younger ones. Based on farmers’ descriptors, a total of six distinct local varieties were recorded. Among the six local varieties, lofuwa, unnuka and chenkuwa were widely grown across the study kebeles. Shortage of cultivable land, long maturation period, displacement by other crops, and shortage of seed tubers were the main causes for declining interest in cultivation.
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