Avocado (Persea americana M) which is native to the high lands of Mexico
and Central America is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions from
40°N and 40°S (Samson, 1986). It is one of the
most nutritive fruits known. It contains eleven vitamins, fourteen minerals
and high percentage of oil (up to 30%) with no cholesterol (Currier,
1991). Avocado is by itself a complete food containing nine essential amino
acids even though not in balanced proportion (Bergh, 1991).
Avocado is also processed into oil for human consumption and used as ingredient
in various cosmetics and health products (Gaillard and Godefory,
Early European travelers in the sixteen century found avocado in cultivation
and distributed throughout Central America and Northern South America. Distribution
to the Africa and Asian tropics occurred during the 1700s and 1800s
(Nakasone and Paull, 1998). Private orchard owners in
Hirna and Wendo Genet areas first introduced avocado to Ethiopia in 1938. Gradually,
its cultivation spread nation wide with satisfactory adaptation to different
agro ecologies (IAR, 1993). According to Seifu
(2003) avocado is one of recently introduced fruit crops to the Ethiopian
Avocado was introduced to Jimma by Jimma Agricultural Research Center (JARC)
in 1969 from Wendo Genet and DebreZeit areas (personal communication). On the
other hand, Edossa (1997) reported that avocado fruit
was unknown to consumer in southwestern part of Ethiopia in general about fifteen
years back. He further indicated that in 1979 a collection orchard was established
at JARC by planting few locally available collections.
Although, avocado is relatively new fruit crop to the agriculture research
system of Ethiopia, it is now being widely distributed in the country from lowland
to highland areas (1000-2300 masl) where there is no frost hazards (personal
communication). Presently, there is a great demand for avocado in southwestern
part of the country (Edossa, 1997). This demand is very
high particularly at Mana Woreda, which is located in the vicinity of Jimma
town. Its present market value is continuously increasing much better than other
available fruits. This indicates that avocado is a potential fruit crop not
only for solving the problem of balanced diet but also for fetching sizable
income for producers. It thus has become the potential fruit crops for diversification
where farmers income has been highly limited to coffee as the Woreda is
well known as major coffee producing area in Jimma Zone. However, there is no
information about the trends of avocado production and its constraints at the
Woreda level though many farmers have been engaged in the production of the
crop. Hence, collecting baseline information about the trends of avocado production
and its production constraints are very important for further improvement and
promotion of the crop. The primary objective of the study was to assess the
trend of avocado production and its constraints in Mana Woreda in order to provide
baseline information for researchers and producers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study site: The study was conducted at Mana Woreda, Jimma Zone, which is located between 7°54N and 36°53E in Southwestern part of Ethiopia with a total area of 47,898 ha. The altitudinal range of the Woreda is between 1410 and 2610 m above sea level. The area has an average annual rainfall of 1467 mm and the mean annual minimum and maximum temperature of 13 and 24.8°C, respectively. The Woreda comprises 24 rural kebeles and one town which is 368 km far from metropolis and 22 km from Jimma town, respectively. Mana Woreda is one of the densely populated Woreda of Jimma Zone with the total population of 151, 958 of which 76,367 are male and 75,598 are female The Woreda comprises 21,687 households of which 20,003 (92.23%) are headed by male and the rest 1683 (7.77%) are headed by female house holds. Six sampling kebeles namely: Doyo Bikila, Doyo Toli, Gudeta Bula, Buture, Somodo and Bilida were used as study sites.
Method of data collection: Informal survey was conducted first, to have
a better insight and identify the major avocado producing kebeles of the Woreda.
Based on a survey results six peasant associations (kebeles) were selected on
the basis of long period production and marketing experience of avocado at the
A total of 67 households were randomly selected from the sampling sites by
employing proportional sampling methods (15% from each kebele or peasant association).
Data on avocado production trends and its constraints were collected from October
2007 to January 2008 by using questionnaire. The data were collected from farmers
who were engaged on the production and marketing activities of avocado.
Method of data analysis: The collected data were summarized and analyzed as descriptive analysis (minimum, maximum, mean and frequencies of percentage values) using SPSS (version 13) computer software program. Furthermore, the collected data were checked for errors and irregularities to ascertain reliability for further processes. The checked and analyzed data were presented through tabulation and graphical presentation to illustrate numerical data.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Production experience and source of planting materials: The survey result
indicated that the farmers in the study sites have an average of 12.39 years
of avocado production experiences with a minimum and maximum of 9 and 19 years,
respectively. This finding was in line with the report of Edossa
(1997) who explained that the production of avocado was not known before
15 years. Moreover, the result agrees with the findings of Wondyifraw
et al. (2008). Furthermore, the report indicated that there were
farmers who planted avocado at the beginning of 1980s. However, most of them
reported that they started to plant avocado in the late 1980s. The research
result also indicated that the farmers obtained planting material from different
sources. These different sources includes Jimma Agricultural Research center
(JARC), Mana Woreda Agriculture and rural development office (ARDO), farmers
own production (FOP), others (markets and cafeteria) (Fig. 1).
The maximum contributions were made from farmers their own production (FOP)
(53.7%) followed by Jimma Agriculture Research Center (JARC) which accounts
for 25.4% of the total sources of planting material. Although, the contribution
was less cafeterias plays their own contribution for avocado production in the
study site. However, care should be given when planting material are collected
from unknown source. Because avocado needs planting of A and B type avocado
to produce any fruits otherwise the plant may fell to produce any fruit after
investing a lot of resource for 8 to 10 years. Therefore, provision of technical
support together with improved seed and agronomic practices is an issue that
should be focused for finding solutions. However, currently the Woreda ARDO
prepares avocado seedlings to distribute for innovative farmers by collecting
seeds from different sources. The avocado seedlings planted at the study area
in the past five years by the involvement of JARC, Woreda ARDO and farmers own
production were 24.2, 34.9 and 40.9%, respectively. This figure also indicated
that farmers own production plays great role for the promotion of avocado production
in the study area although the original source were from Jimma Agricultural
|| Sources of avocado planting materials
Trends and social values of avocado production: Assessment of avocado
production in the survey area showed that there has been an increasing trend
of avocado production in the last several years (Fig. 2).
The study indicated that the average amount of avocado trees grown by an individual
farmer before 10 years and 5 years were 5.19 and 15.28, respectively. Currently
on average an individual farmer owned 35.83 avocado trees around his garden
or field with a minimum and maximum of 8 and 400 avocado plants, respectively.
However, all avocado plants the farmers owned do not start to bear fruits. This
indicates that on average there were 85% increase of avocado plants over the
avocado owed by individual farmer before 10 years. However, according to World
Bank (2004) production and exports of fresh fruits have shown modest growth
of which avocado accounts 11%. Furthermore, the report indicated that the overall,
production growth has experienced only 1% growth per annum over the last decade,
with a decline in per capita terms.
The survey result also indicated that the variation in the amount of avocado
plantation was not only restricted among farmers but also among sampling sites
or peasant associations. The study point out that in all sampling sites there
was an increasing trend of avocado production and relatively more avocado plantation
were planted in Bilida as compared to the other peasant association (Fig.
The major reason for the increasing of avocado production area in the study
area is because the fruit has better market value. The result from overall data
analysis proved that the main objective of avocado production is for sale.
|| Trends of avocado production at mana wereda
|| Trends of avocado plant exist among the six kebeles in the
study area October 13, 2010
|| Income earned in one production season/household
The data showed that the average amount of avocado fruits sold by an individual
farmer in one production season was 819 kg year-1 which accounts
79.63% of the total production and the amounts used for consumption were only
20.37%. The collected information further showed that about 85.1% of sale of
avocado was made in cash by selling the produce in small amount (split sale)
where as 13.4% of the sale was made in bulk on cash basis. In addition to these
advance sale was also practiced by very small number of farmers (1.5%). The
availability of different terms of sale may initiate the farmer to expand their
avocado farms because the numbers of avocado plants are considered as their
account saved in bank. From the study it was recorded that an individual farmer
averagely earned 2095.27 birr year-1 in one production season from
6 fruit bearing avocado trees with the average price of 2.16 kg-1
of avocado fruits (Fig. 4). These indicate that avocado plays
a great role in generating an additional income and contributes much in the
livelihood of farmers in the society. This finding was in line with Wondyifraw
et al. (2008) who reported that individual framers were gained on
average 2011.58 birr from avocado sales in a single production season.
Beside to its economic importance avocado plays a significant role in enhancing social interaction within the society. Avocado provides social values to farmers by improving social acceptance and respection in the society, developing popularity by provision of fruits/seeds/ seedlings to relatives and improving social interaction within the society during wedding, holidays and during other social problems faced among relatives. Hence, avocado plays significant role in improving social affairs among the rural society at the study area and further study is recommendable to identify the socioeconomic impacts of avocado production in the society.
Yield: Since, avocado is known for its alternate bearing the yield of
avocado fruits per tree varies among years. According to the survey result at
good harvest the yield ranges from 130 to 1200 kg year-1 per tree
while at poor harvest the yield can be reduced to a range of 54 to 500 kg. Furthermore,
production per tree also varies among the study areas (Fig. 5).
The result agrees with the findings of Smith (2006). The
yield varies greatly with cultivar, age of tree, location, whether and other
conditions. The level of yield depends on cultivars, effective pollination and
crop husbandry practices (Edossa, 1997; Linda,
2006). The yield given on the literature vary from country to country but
on average about 10 t ha-1 with a tree density of 150 to 200 ha-1.
Avocado production constraints: Even though avocado is contributing much in the socioeconomic life of the society, its production is confronted by a number of constraints.
|| Production per tree of avocado at the study areas
|| Avocado tree attacked by root rot (Phytophtora cinnamomi)
Degeneration of fruits, disease problem and absence of improved agronomic practices were listed by the beneficiaries as major obstacles for avocado production in the study site. The avocado disease, root rot (Phytophtora cinnamoni) has been reported to occur in Jimma area (Fig. 6). Its symptoms are confusing because some times there is complete drying of the plants and some times the dried plant regenerate after certain period of time if the farmers maintained the dried plants in the field. Most people always confused whether that problem is really because of disease or because of physiological phenomena. From the survey result it was observed that about 2.98% of the sampled farmers faced a problem of complete drying of 1 to 2 avocado trees in their farms. Although, such complete drying of the plant is minimal in the sampling sites or peasant associations some times a number of dried avocado plants are observed in the field. Hence, avocado root rot is one of the intervention area on which research should focus to come up with solutions. Therefore, research on avocado disease and improved agronomic practices should further be taken in to account in order to avoid the great economic loss of avocado growing farmers and also to apply appropriate management practices. The other problem reported with avocado production was non bearing of avocado plants which is associated with not planting A and B avocado type together. Moreover, the long juvenile period of avocado raised from seedling was also reported as one the production problem in the study site. This can be solved by using asexual methods of propagation particularly grafting.
Avocado is one of highly demanding horticultural crop at the study area because of its production potentials. According to the survey result avocado is demanded by farmers. Because of its better source of income during off-season, nutrition-the rural society used avocado as traditional Wot as additive in their cultural feeding habit, beautification and requirement of little cost of production and marketing. However, less attention is given in avocado extension service which is seen in this study. Avocado root rot is one of the intervention area on which research should focus to come up with solutions. Research on avocado disease and improved agronomic practices should further be taken in to account in order to avoid the great economic loss of avocado growing farmers and also to apply appropriate management practices. Hence, the avocado extension service has to be re-strengthened and integrated agricultural extension system should be given to farmers by the responsible organization.
Authors would also like to extend and express our sense of deep appreciation to the staff of the Mana Woreda for their assistance rendered to us in facilitating data collection at different peasant associations (kebele). We would also want thanks the farmers who gave us their own precious time during data collection.