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Horticultural Crops Production in Ethiopia

Girma Abera Jibat
Associate Research Officer/Horticulture Research Division, Oromiya Agricultural Research Institute Introduction

Ethiopia is a country located in the east of Africa. Ethiopia is bordered by Kenya in the south, Somalia, in the east, Djibouti in the north east, Eritrea in the north and Sudan in the west and north west. The country is one of the largest in area coverage and population holdings (65 million). Ethiopia experienced wide altitudinal variations from 1000 to 3000m. There is also wide climatic variations like high rain fall areas in the central, western, southern and south western parts of the country, though there is only two distinct seasons dry and rainy seasons which is common to tropical counters of the of the world. To the contrary, there are dry or arid areas in the northern, north eastern and eastern parts of the country. The country is governed by Federal State System, where the President, Prime Minster and Parliamentary System are the ruling system. Under this system the country is decomposed into nine Regional States operating. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in the country; as a result more than 100 languages are spoken in different localities of the country. Nevertheless, it is one national language called Amharic is used for the Federal State and for some regional states, while some other regions also have their own regional official language used for operating in their respective regions. Agriculture is the main stay of Ethiopian economy, contributing 50% share in the gross domestic product (GDP). About 85% of the population is engaged in agriculture; about 75% of the Ethiopia’s industry is engaged in processing of farm products (Yohannes, 1991). From the total area in the country, 69% is estimated to be suitable for agricultural purposes. The

However. Further more. it helps in maintaining ecological balance since horticultural crops species are so diverse. Consequently. Some nutritional deficiencies like vitamin A and C. Based on the survey per capital consumption of the annual fresh production assorted vegetables is about 2. irrigated agriculture is far below its potential. the majority of the horticultural crops product comes from the peasant smallholder farms. both in income and social spheres for improving income and nutrition status. In addition. Further. In some areas of the country. their areas of production and their contribution to the country's total agricultural output were not known much.potential for irrigation in Ethiopia is estimated to be about two million hectares.86 million tons. Currently. the average productivity of both land and labour is extremely low and variable from season to season. Due to limited experience in water management and control. Despite these favourable resource endowments. vegetables and root crops generate foreign currency earnings in the country. limited capital available for investment and the diverse climate and disease vectors characteristics of the lowland areas (where most irrigation potential is located). it provides employment opportunities as their management being labour intensive. agricultural production has remained mostly close to subsistence level (Solomon. carbohydrates and other nutrients that contribute to a major portion to an Ethiopian daily dish mix. Root crops in general and sweet potato in particular are drought resistant and serve as security food crops in drought prone areas. Horticultural crops are rich in vitamins. Thus production is heavily dependent on rainfall and uses little capital and technology. Ethiopia is a country with great variety of climate and soil types that can grow diversity of horticultural crops for home consumption and foreign markets. and iron can be corrected by use of selected vegetable and root crops as well as fruits. Horticultural crops play a significant role in developing country like Ethiopia. 1989). root crops particularly potatoes and sweet potatoes are used as staple food for considerable portion of the population. production of these commodities should be encouraged in labour abundant and capital scarce countries like Ethiopia. From the total .

rift valley areas.volume of horticultural products 95% is fresh vegetable production. Meteorological data of some Ethiopian towns.4 20. The major producers of . Town Addis Ababa Latitude 09O02’ Longitude 38O44’ Altitude (m) 2408 Average annual RF (mm) 1179.65 20.1 20. There is no processing of vegetables in the peasant smallholder farm.35 Bahir Dar Debere Zeit Dire Dewa Jimma Bako II. Horticultural crops production of individual peasant farm is mainly for self-sufficiency in food and income. leafy vegetables. predominantly by the Horticulture Development Corporation (HDC). Table 1. Production of canned and bottled vegetables is mainly in the Ministry of State Industry (MSI) and Ministry of State Farm (MSF).70 1477 1244 20. roots and tubers adaptable to specific locations and altitudes (Table 2). Production 11 36’ 08O44’ 09O45’ 07O39’ 09O06’ O 37 25’ 38O58’ 41O52’ 36O50’ 37O09’ O 1802 1850 1160 1740 1650 1393 800. Whereas large scale production and processing of fruits and vegetables is carried out only by state organisations. This commercial production is concentrated in theeastern parts of the country. Cultivation of land is made traditionally either by means of labour or draft animals. Horticultural crops production in the peasant sector is under mixed crop-livestock farming system. (OC) 17.1 638. state organization and currently few private sectors get their land mechanised for commercial purposes.15 24. 1992). Ethiopia has a variety of fruits. Nevertheless.6 Average daily Temp. which has been carrying out production and marketing development activities since 1980 (Yohannes.6 Horticultural crop production in Ethiopia is scattered through out the country on patches of land in peasant smallholder farm.

Crop type Varity Yield Altitude (t/ha) (m.58 500-3000 Swiss chard Long white ribbed 31.a. carrots.0 500-3000 Chantey 24. potatoes and chillies are mainly produced under rain fed conditions.7 mid and highland .4 500-2200 Cabbage Copenhagen 27.8 1700-2200 Bombay red 14.32 1400-1800 Koka 18 28. Recommended root crops and vegetables varieties in different production areas. garlic.s.horticultural crops are small scale farmers.9 500-1700 Carrot Nates 21.6 1700-3000 Beet root Cross by Egyptian 24.0 1700-3000 Ford hook grant 15. 1983 .5 500-3000 Early drum head 15. lettuce.7 1400-1800 375 24.27 1400-1800 Tis1499 21.0 1700-2200 Tomato Marglobe 27. Table 2.8 500-3000 Detroit dark-red 20. cabbage.6 1700-2200 Roma VF 31.39 1400-1800 Cemsa (Bako) 22.l) Onion Red Creole 19. Tomatoes.8 500-1700 Cauliflower Glacier 21.95 1400-1800 White star 13.2002.7 500-3000 Pepper Bakolocal 20 1400-1900 Marekofana 30 1400-2200 Sweet potato Koka 12 13. Shallot.7 500-2200 Mney maker 24. spinach and swiss chard are usually restricted to areas where irrigation water is available. production being mainly rain fed and few under irrigation. beetroot.98 1400-1800 Awassa-83 20.16 1400-1800 Cemsa (Awassa) 24.96 1400-1800 AJAC-1 23.

200.000 23.000 15. horticulture is relatively under developed. The high productivity of horticultural crops as compared to cereals. The average annual area coverage and the estimated annual production level are as given below (Semeret. 2. in terms of area and out put is a small development compared to the possible level that can be attained.000. 3. The margin of the current achievements.000 150.000 7.000 6.000 4. 5. 4. Crop type Area (ha) Production (tonnes) Vegetables Roots Potatoes Sweet potatoe Others Total 90. particularly in urban areas.000 . Table 3.000 40. Agro-climatic suitability and rich water resources for diversified irrigated agriculture. Some of the favourable factors that contribute to an over all investment are: 1. Export possibilities of these crops are very encouraging and 7.700.000 10. Despite an enormous potential and a favourable environmental and Socioeconomic advantage.200.Ethiopia has got an immense potential to develop intensive horticulture on small scale as well as on commercial scale.000 360.900.000 800.000 70. Growth/rise of demand for horticultural crops. Diversified agro-climatic conditions that facilitate the diversification of the crops. Average annual area coverage and estimated annual production level of horticultural crops. these crops are highly remunerative and would be undoubtedly help to improve the standard of living of small scale resources poor farmers. Proximity to lucrative markets. 1992). If fully exploited. 6.

Recommended and released potato varieties for different agro ecological adaptation. Seasonality of supply . calculated on the basis of annual average estimate of 600 million kilograms from total food crops harvested in the year. the incompatibility of the percentages 10 versus 34 is owing to the high rate of productivity of the horticultural crops as compared to the food crops.s. III.59 32-40 46. Center of release Al-1 Alemaya Al-100 Alemaya Al-148 Aelmaya Al-560 Alemaya Al-624 Alemaya Bedasa Alemaya Chiro Alemaya Digemegn Holetta Gorebela Adet Guwassa Sheno Jallene Holetta Menagesha Holetta Tolcha Holetta Wechecha Holetta Zemen Alemaya Zengena ADet Key: NM=not mentioned *=On -station recorded yield Variety Year of release NM NM NM NM 1987 2001 1997 2002 NM NM 2002 1993 1993 1997 2001 2001 Yield* (t/ha) 8-10 30-40 25-30 30-40 30-40 40.1 24.4 44.7 30.8 37.a. the share of horticultural crops is 10% and 34% respectively.1 21.l) 1500-2500 1500-2500 1500-2500 1500-2500 1500-2500 1700-2000 1600-2000 1600-2800 2700-3200 2240-2630 1600-2800NM NM NM 1700-2000 200-2800 Rain fall (mm) 700-900 700-900 700-900 700-900 700-900 700-800 700-800 NM NM NM NM NM NM NM 700-800 1000-1500 Compared to the annual average area and the yield obtained from the food crops.18 30-35 Altitude (m.Table 4.8 27 33.

These include the human labour. rented pickups. The shortage of containers causes serious problems especially for the peasants and often their crops are loaded on to the transport vehicles loss their quality and weight. limited availability of the means of transport pages serious problems to the peasant producers. Food consumption in Ethiopia Ethiopia is the second highly populated country in sub-Saharan Africa. which is extremely important in the marketing of fruit and vegetables. is rudimentary in Ethiopia. IV. 1989). mini trucks and large trucks. The type of containers used by the general trade includes baskets with no uniform size for kale. lettuce. transport and storage The loss of vegetables between production and consumption is estimated to be 25-35%. some public transport. The trade also does not operate any intermediate storage system for carrying ever supply to obtain better prices. In general several types of transportation means are used to market horticultural crops. and or reduce the time interval between harvesting and consumption. V. shallots. Packaging. transport and storage is to mitigate the post harvest loss gap between producer and consumer . jute sacks for marketing onions. mules.Since most vegetables are grown under rain fed conditions the supply fluctuates seasonally. Owing to this fact the population contains several ethnic groups with varied cultures and eating habits. Between October and January there are moderate supply of fresh vegetables but starts to rise in February and reaches its peak level in April and May. melons and cabbages (Bekele. The peasants have no storage facilities at their disposal and the products they harvest are usually exposed to the influence of the weather until they are collected by the end users. At the farm level. donkeys. The purpose of packing. According to Yohannes (1989) report Hormann and Shawel categorized the general eating habits in the country in four . potatoes but also for cucumbers. carrots. Packing. The season of lowest vegetable supply is the main rainy season between June to mid September when also prices are the highest.

VI. . . 1989).48 US$). These eating habits create very poor consumption preferences for most of fresh fruits and vegetables.4 birr on vegetables about 12% of the per capita annual expenditure on food.).The predominant food of ‘ injera and wat’ which is especially consumed in the urban centres. yams and the root of the false banana called enset (Ensete ventircosum L.The traditional eating habit of the population.types.The supply shortage of some preferred vegetables. sweet potatoes. injera and wat. .The diet of the livestock-raising low Landers which is mainly based on dairy products with some maize and or sorghum. . The expenditure of the average inhabitants is 29. which is predominate in the south central part of the country.The lack of knowledge about certain types of vegetables . The same study estimated the rural per capital expenditure on vegetable as 12 birr per annum (1 birr= 0. only 6% of the total annual expenditure on food. This low level of per capita consumption is accounted by: .The low level of per capita income of US$ 110 . Marketing Because of their high perishability and quality loss horticultural crops require more complex marketing systems. and .The high consumption of root crops-potatoes.The eating habits in the big towns and their surroundings which is the mixture of foreign dishes and the high landers staple food. .The generally high price level of fruits and vegetables . The average annual per capita consumption of horticultural crops estimated to be 48 kg for the rural and 37 kg for the urban population (Bekele.

transportation. onion and potato have monopolistic power. supply low quantity vegetables.Few government super markets in big urban cities. 1980 under the Horticulture Development Corporation (HDC) of the Ministry of State Farm Development. Retail Markets There are several types of retailers supplying vegetables to different to segments of the urban population. ETFRUIT is a wholesale institution dealing with domestic and export trade of fresh fruits.Whole sale markets The whole sale markets of horticultural crops often interwoven with the retail markets are mostly located in the centre of the city scattered in a number of areas. floriculture and spice crops (MSDF. 1984). In the big cities like Addis Ababa few private whole sellers who deal with less sensitive vegetables like garlic. grading and quality control.The central market place. vegetables. . The Ethiopian Fruit. . . . sell relatively better quality of produce. . storage. flowers. packing and distribution of these horticultural.and Vegetables Marketing Enterprise (ETFRUIT for short) is a state trading organisation established in April.Hawkers also sell vegetables which they carry around the streets in the baskets. processed horticultural products and some slice crops. The marketing operation of the enterprise includes the collection of products from production sites. the retail markets can be grouped into: . According to Harman and Shawl (1985).Private retail stores (Kiosks). the “Mercato” is the important centre where retailers sale larger quantities of vegetables.Road side and open markets (gullets).

moves around the individual farmers and fix verbal contracts.The traditional practice. packing sacks and organise the transporting. 836. Table 5. Birr) 157. 313 Year 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Source: CSA. 907. where a broker.7% in value in 1987 Bekele (1989). the following trade channels have been identified: -Where the individual farmers produce and pack themselves and transport all by animals to the nearest market and sell to collecting whole sellers. 574. 680. Generally. 759 106. 823 353. 869. 321. 963. Export development Out of the exports of all agricultural commodities the contribution of fruits and vegetables export from Ethiopia accounted for 11% in quantity and 1. 995 49. 218. 906. advance money. on the behalf of the assembling wholesaler. Local development In the marketing chain of vegetable the sequence of intermediaries involved are of various types and the distinction between the stages of the trade is often blurred. 263 147. The major market of the horticultural crops exports of the country have . 2. retailers or consumers. Export of horticultural crops during 1997-2002. Volume of export net weight (kg) 60. 425 246.6% in value in 1986 and again 11% in quantity and 3. 179 113. 185. 127 41. 571.1. 300 95. . 761 value of export (Eth. 971. 829 39. 104 131.

321..596.762 2000 2001 24.been the republic of Djibouti. Republic of Korea etc.633 131.37 50.124.807. Israel.76 %) to 66.39 .) and the European countries (UK.A.124. etc. 19972 .906.59 80.86 to 14. Germany. Table 6.750.440 17.63 86.0 38 21. Other than those mentioned markets.634.11 82.218. The share of the Djibouti market also showed a decreasing trend from 34.7127 53 5.48 28.50 0 Total 60. Fiji.91 % for 2002. Somali Morocco.86 2.48 81.32 14.1 04 2002 23. 963.39 36.86 1999 35.249 1.633 kg (50.89 2001 2547 22.10 1998 42.248. Destinat ion Djibouti Europe M.91 14.S..869. Destinatio n Djibouti 1997 1998 1999 17.022.20 5 7.11%) between 1997 and 2002 in quantity of net weight export while that of European share was declining significantly in change between the same periods from 28.761 21.36 2002 17.37% (Table 5).389 14. the Middle East (Saudi Arabia. several countries were exercised as destination or importers of Ethiopian horticultural products like U. etc.9 127 95 Source: CSA 14.249 kg (2.2002.5 83 95.353 509 15.2 94 M. Italy.3 9 00 Table 7.43 34.797 66. East Total 1997 34.48% for1997 to 17.397.963.47 0 49. Sudan.76 66.82 39.682. 41. Average annual quantity share of export markets. East 1.4 79 Europe 17.131.2002.39 34. France.) The average annual share of Middle East has been increasing rapidly from 1.124.9 50 32.200 18.18 32.971.836. 19972 .682. Denmark. Average annual percentage share of export markets.46 82.506.940.359. The Netherlands.6 27 14. Yemen.98 2000 35.39 3.87 14.

Source: CSA VII. in the natural field condition using classical means of propagation or multiplication. Table 8. the infrastructure . They are located in towns far away from the sources of raw material supply. Plants Merti Melque Wondo Corporation HDC ELMICOR Administrative regions Arsi Sidamo Production capacity of the plant: The major products of the plants are mainly based on tomato and orange products. 1986). However. The major botleneck. Current Development in Horticultural Crops Production Growing System Ethiopia used to grow horticultural crops under uncontrolled growing system i. Processing There are two vegetables and fruits processing plants with in the Ministry of State Farms Development. seed production and breeding activities. These are Melque Wondo and Merti plant processing factories located in different administrative regions and corporations as described below. understanding the importance of these new technologies for micro propagation and virus disease clean up. No tissue culture or biotechnology activities were so far undertaken in the country.e. The untimely delivery of packing materials has also contributed to the problem (MSDF. in all cases has been the problem of supply of raw materials and to a lesser extent the distribution/sale of the finished products. Most of the time. State owned processing plants. other than some privately owned small scale processing units. VIII. all plants operate below 50% of the attainable capacity.

Seed Production The most bottleneck of horticultural crops development of the country is lack of improved seed in required quality and quantity. soft rot and virus diseases. Major Diseases and Pests Horticultural crops produced in the country experience the most common world diseases and pests. early blight etc. farmers were restricted to use local horticultural crops seeds which are supposed to be low in yield potential and prone to most of the diseases and insects. It is also significant to note that all horticultural crops management and harvesting activities are practiced manually. for instance Solanaceous family suffers from late blight (Phythopthra infestance). It also gets attacked by blights. However. bacterial wilt. In general. adoption and rigorous selection. potato is damaged by potato tuber moth whereas sweet potatoes mainly attacked by sweet potato weevil sweet potato butter fly and beetle. Ethiopia exercises of superior and resistant/tolerant horticultural crops variety development through introduction.facilities are under construction in few selected research centers. regional and national sister organizations . to control diseases and insect pest so far the country was mainly concentrated in use of cultural control methods as well as use of resistant crop varieties. To achieve this anticipated goals she used to introduce different crop species from different international. horticultural crops production activities of small scale farms are solely done using oxen plough. Consequently. Particularly. except land preparation by using tractor by commercial and state farms. Machinery Similar to all cultivated crops production in the country. This is because of there was and is no governmental or non-governmental organization responsible for the multiplication and distribution of horticultural crops seeds.

during the last few years. processing and marketing systems of horticultural crops in Ethiopia were found in sufficient and rudimentary. tomato production in Ethiopia showed a marked increase. extremely small quantities of horticultural crops are daily consumed in Ethiopia and the consumption of processed products are almost nil. As indicated by the per capita annual consumption of the rural and urban population. (c) the generally high price level of the products. the production. Food selfsufficiency is can only be brought about through diversification of production and consumption. Local and foreign market demand of both fresh and processed horticultural crops can be maximised by increasing both main season and off-season . X. particularly in the rural areas.IX. This low level of consumption is accounted by (a) the traditional nutrition habits of the population with poor consumer preferences for vegetables. In general. Conclusion Although the potential is enormous the development of horticultural crops production is still infancy. calls great attention to raise the country’s food self-sufficiency and increase export earnings via diversified production of horticultural crops. Future prospects In view of the existing deficit of food crops due to the adverse weather condition and high population pressure the need of developing new commodities and technologies to increase production and productivity in both the high and low potential areas is paramount important. Thus. horticultural crops production are some of key alternatives to improving the country’s deteriorating food supply situation and alleviate malnutrition and under nourishment. Thus. (b) the low level of per capita income. (d) the absence of educational and promotional activities to influence consumption habits of the people and (e) the supply shortage of some relatively preferred horticultural crops. However. This is mainly due to the raw material requirement of the new processing plant at Merti Jeju (Nura Era Enterprise) and relatively better demanded in urban.

horticultural crops export is lucrative provided that good quality standard products are produced to compute the world market. Since Ethiopia exist in a good geographical location to the Middle East countries. 21 . Horticulturae. In the past several years. Verhaegh eds. can mitigate the existing challenging problem. First international symposium on horticultural economics in developing countries (A. Ethiopia. Therefore. PP. There is shortage of trained manpower on horticultural crops in general and on specific fields in particular. the manpower development should be given due attention to develop the sector. The establishment of more agro-industries and expansion of existing ones is also a factor to be taken into account as it will make easier to reach distant regions with finished products. maintaining good market condition for both producers and consumers and by improving transportation facilities. wise planned market oriented production of horticultural crops to supply them for European markets when they are out of production needs due attention. In addition. 16 . extension system of the country should give due attention for horticultural crops even to sustainable the agriculture contribution to the country’s economy. Jager and A. Alemaya. de.) Acta.production using rain fed and irrigated agriculture. extension priority has been given to cash crops commodity and cereal crops. Therefore.31. and certified seed production. XI. Therefore. the expansion of horticultural crops cultivation. References Bekele Wolde. It can also be an important employment opportunity for the majority of jobless citizen. 1989. All year round production under controlled environment can also increase consumption of horticultural crops.P. which are high yielder and labour intensive.23 July 1989. Ethiopia is a country with high population in sub-Saharan Africa being with poor food self-sufficiency. . Horticulture marketing systems in Ethiopia.

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Ababa. Ethiopia. . PP. 8-18.