Chickpea participatory variety selection for the vertisol of the watershed
Chickpea is one of the most important food grains in the diets of Ethiopian people. Ethiopia is the largest producer of chickpea in Africa, and the sixth largest producer in the world, with over 200,000 hectares under cultivation and annual production of 4 million quintals (CSA, 2011). The crop is propoor in that it has high potential for improving the livelihoods of the rural poor in Ethiopia. It is an important source of protein in the people’s diet, an important rotation crop to improve soil fertility and it is also an important cash source. Similarly, chickpea is the main leguminous crop widely produced in the watershed. However, farmers grow traditional, low-yielding and disease- and pest-susceptible varieties, despite the fact that several high yielding, diseaseresistant, pest-resistant and drought-tolerant varieties have been developed by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The local varieties are low yielding and susceptible to wilt; so introducing high-yielding and adaptable improved chickpea varieties would increase farmers’ productivity and thus their livelihoods. Therefore, an experiment on participatory selection of chickpea varieties was conducted with the objectives of selecting adaptive and high-yielding improved chickpea varieties through farmers’ participation and evaluating the effect of rhizobium inoculation on the productivity of chickpea.