May 13/2022 /ENA/ “Enset” crop is undisputedly Ethiopia’s potential crop that could ascertain food security and prevent stunting, a researcher from Arba Minch University asserts.
Enset crop (E. ventricosum) is found in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but it is domesticated and cultivated as a food crop only in Ethiopia.
With its starch-rich corm and pseudo stem processed into food products, enset a staple meal for more than 20 million Ethiopians in southern Ethiopia.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Arba Minch University researcher and lecturer Addisu Fekadu said the crop which has huge nutritional and food security for the country has not been fully utilized.
It is rich with various nutritional nutrients, he stated, adding that it has paramount effect especially in fighting stunting in different parts of Ethiopia.
“Enset is a climate resilient crop. So whether we agree or not, it is going to be the future crop or super food because there is no other crop that can resist drought.”
Apart from that, the crop gives high yield as compared to other cereals like wheat, maize and teff, he said.
Unlike other crops, enset gives high yield from a single plant.“A single plant can give on average about 120kgs of edible product,” the researcher pointed out.
“We have high yield one, second it is climate resilient crop and that produces highly nutritious food. So you cannot get much food within a small area other than that of enset. We therefore strongly encourage the government or any other stakeholder to scale-up enset growing in all parts of the country, especially in the north that has huge potential to cultivate enset.”
Pointing out that Ethiopia had imported wheat worth of 1 billion USD in 2020/21, while there is huge enset reserve in the southern part of the country, Addisu hastened to add that “I can confidently say that enset is highly marginalized crop.”
According to the researcher, there is no or fragmented intervention to improve enset productivity, process of its fermentation and expand it across the country.
He urged the Agricultural Transformation Agency and other pertinent institutions to give due attention to scale-up enset growing in all parts of the country.
The researcher stated that Arba Minch University has been working to promote foods produced from enset in the country and abroad.
Addisu is convinced that enset will be one of the top Ethiopian export crops in the next few years.
The researcher said, “We are promoting enset-based food products, meaning high-quality and value added enset-based products which are developed at Arba Minch University. So, we have been sending our products as a promotion to Kenya and USA. I am quite sure that within the next 5 years enset is going to be among the top 10 crops that can be exported.”
Enset crop is known by various names in different parts of the country. It is Asset for the Gurage, Workie for the Oromo, Wase for the Sidama, Enset for the Amhara, and Uto for the Kaffa, etc.