Farmer Participatory Evaluation of Agronomic Performances of Bread Wheat Varieties in the Highlands of Eastern Ethiopia

  • Haile Deressa Office of Research Affairs, CASCAPE Project, Haramaya University, P O Box 266, Haramaya, Ethiopia
  • Nigussie Dechassa Haramaya University, Department of Plant Sciences, P O Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  • Mengistu Ketema Haramaya University, Department of Agricultural Economics, P O Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
  • Tamiru Amanu Office of Research Affairs, CASCAPE Project, Haramaya University, P O Box 266, Haramaya, Ethiopia


Although a number of improved wheat varieties have been released in Ethiopia, most farmers continue cultivating local varieties, which are low yielders and highly susceptible to diseases. The low adoption rate of improved wheat varieties is attributable mainly to farmers’ uncertainty about the expected benefit. Hence, on-farm trials consisting of three improved bread wheat varieties [Madda Walabu (HAR-1480), Digalu (HAR-3116), Danda’a], with one local variety as a control treatment, were conducted in Gurawa district in the highlands of eastern Ethiopia in the 2012 and 2013 cropping seasons. The objective of the trials was to evaluate the varieties for agronomic performances jointly with farmers’ research groups, researchers, and experts of agriculture in the region. Visual observation and data collection were done from planting up to harvesting. The visual assessment revealed that the growth performances of the improved varieties were superior to that of the local variety. The analysis of variance showed that the grain yields of the improved varieties significantly exceeded that of the local variety. Thus, the improved varieties Digalu, Danda’a, and Madda Walabu produced grain yields of 7432.5, 7193.7, 6502.5 kg ha-1, which exceeded the grain yield produced by the local variety (4835 kg ha-1) by about 54, 49, and 34%, respectively. Digalu and Danda’a were also unaffected by diseases compared to the other varieties. Eventually, the farmers selected Digalu and Danda’a, but rejected the improved Madda Walabu variety and the local one. It could be concluded that farmer participatory evaluation of existing improved wheat varieties is a vital pre-condition for adoption and scaling up of production of the crop in the region.


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