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Genetic variability among enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) cultivars from morphological and agronomic variables

Abstract

Meles Gerima, Amha Dego, and Hailemariam Papatakis

Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is a multipurpose crop used for food, fuel, housing materials, fencing and livestock feed. The major food types obtained from enset are kocho, bulla and amicho. Kocho is fermented starch obtained from decorticated (scraped) leaf sheaths and grated corms. Bulla is obtained by squeezing out the liquid containing starch from scraped leaf sheathes and grated corm and allowing the resultant starch to concentrate into white powder. Amicho is boiled enset corm pieces that are prepared and consumed in a similar manner to other root and tuber crops. Thirtyfive cultivars of Ensete ventricosum were grown in RCBD (two replications) to study the different quantitative morpho-agronomic characters contributing to the diversity analysis at Areka and Chichu during 2012 to 2013 cropping season. Data on 10 quantitative traits were collected and exposed to statistical analysis. Analysis of variance revealed that there was significant difference between the two locations in all tested phenotypic characters. The mean squares due to cultivars, locations and cultivars x locations interaction were highly significant (P ≤ 0.001) for all the quantitative traits. The highest corm yields were recorded for varieties Chohot, Ashakit, Bose and Gazner. Farmers in the two locations ranked cultivar Ashakit first and Kataniya took second place whereas the first best performing cultivars (Chohot) was among the least preferred genotypes with low score (3). Among the studied character, phenotypic and genotypic coefficient of variation was highest for corm weight (36.17 and 27.28 tha-1 y-1). High heritability was estimate for plant height (77%). The phenotypic and genotypic coefficients of correlation indicated that corm yield ha-1 y-1 was positively correlated with most of the characters. The present study indicated a considerable amount of variability for the majority of the characters of interest in Ensete for exploitation.

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