Written Paper

Wheat Production and Research in Ethiopia  [1991]

Hailu Gebre Mariam

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Ethiopia is the largest wheat producer in the Sub-Saharan Africa with about 0.75 million ha of durum and bread wheat. Wheat is one of the major cereal crops in the Ethiopian highlands, which range between 6 and 16 N, 35 and 42 E, and from 1500 m to 28 m. At present, wheat is produced solely under rainfed conditions. About 60 percent of wheat area is covered by durum and 40 percent by bread wheat. Of the current total wheat production area 75.5 percent is located in Arsi, Bale, and Shewa regions. 6 percent of the 13 million ha classified as highly suitable for wheat production is located in Arsi, Bale, and shewa. Altitude plays an important role in the distribution of wheat production through its influence on rainfall, temperature, and diseases. In Arsi, Bale, and Shewa regions, the soil, moisture and disease conditions in the 1900-2300 m altitude zone are favorable for the production of early- and intermediate- maturing varieties of bread wheat. This is estimated to comprise 25 percent of the total wheat area, while the remaining 75 percent falls in the 2300-2700 m zone. There, early-, intermediate- and late varieties are grown. Soil types used for wheat production vary from well-drained fertile soils to water logged heavy verisols.