Wheat Production and Breeding in Ethiopia: Retrospect and Prospects

Published Date
July 18, 2022
Type
Journal Article
Wheat Production and Breeding in Ethiopia: Retrospect and Prospects
Authors:
Wuletaw Tadesse
Habtemariam Zegeye Endalamaw Habte, Tolesa Debele, Daniel Kassa, Wondwosen Shiferaw, Tafesse Solomon, Tamrat Negash, Negash Geleta, Zewdie Bishaw, Solomon Gizaw Assefa

Wheat, cultivated on a total area of 2.1 million hectares annually with a
total production of 6.7 million tons, is one of the most important food
security crops in Ethiopia. However, there is a huge gap between wheat
production and supply due to the increasing demand associated with the
surge in urban population, change in food preferences such as bread,
biscuits, pasta, noodles, and porridge which are easy and quick to prepare.
To offset this gap, Ethiopia imports on average 1.2 million tons of wheat
annually using its available meagre resources. Though there is enormous
potential to increase Ethiopia’s wheat production both vertically and
horizontally, it is still limited due to key challenges such as prevalence of
biotic (yellow rust, stem rust, septoria, fusarium) and abiotic (acidity, heat,
drought) stresses, yield gaps due to low adoption of new technologies, high
cost and limited availability of inputs, low public and private investments,
and poor infrastructure and marketing systems. Wheat breeding in
Ethiopia is dominantly carried out by the Ethiopian Institute of
Agricultural Research (EIAR) since 1960’s and recently with regional
agricultural research institutes and universities in partnership mainly
with the international agricultural research centers (CIMMYT and ICARDA)
to develop high yielding, heat/drought tolerant and disease resistant wheat
varieties with broad adaptation and acceptable end use qualities. To date,
a total of 88 bread wheat varieties of CIMMYT and ICARDA origin have
been released with continuous progress in yield (40 kg ha−1 year−1) ranging
from 2 t/ha of variety Lakech in 1970 to 6.5 t/ha of the new variety ‘Abay’
released in 2021. This paper summarizes the status of wheat production
under rainfed and irrigated environments, production constraints, wheat
breeding progress, variety deployment efforts and future prospects in
Ethiopia.

Citation:
Wuletaw Tadesse, Habtemariam Endalamaw, Tolesa Debele, Daniel Kassa, Wondwosen Shiferaw, Tafesse Solomon, Tamrat Negash, Negash Geleta, Zewdie Bishaw, Solomon Gizaw Assefa. (18/7/2022). Wheat Production and Breeding in Ethiopia: Retrospect and Prospects. crop breeding genetics and genomics.
Keywords:
challenges
wheat
breeding
ethiopia
production