Narrowing the yield gap of food legumes through integrated management of parasitic weeds in the highlands of Ethiopia
The project was implemented in two districts of the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The parasitic weed (Orobanche crenata) is distributed in different districts of the Northern highlands expanding its ecological range since first reported in a few villages in 1993. Food legumes grown in the highlands were affected as well as dicot weeds. The on-farm experiments that were conducted resulted in the development of integrated parasitic weed management package (application of organic and in-organic fertilizers; use of partially-resistant faba bean cv. Ashengie and 1-2 sprays of sub-lethal glyphosate herbicide at flowering stage) that increased seed yields up to 3t/ha. This package has been adopted by the Extension Department in the Amhara region to be implemented in highly-affected areas as a means of re-introducing faba bean into cropping systems. Moreover, high yielding common bean cultivars were selected to be used as an alternative crop for farmers. The knowledge and skills of farmers, extension staff and researchers were improved through training, hosting trials, seed production and field days and experience sharing through field days. In further research, Orobanche tolerant faba bean and lentil lines were identified that will be further evaluated by the research system. Large geo-referenced biophysical data on weed distribution and socio-economic data were collected and are being analyzed to develop refined parasitic weed distribution maps and to publish scientific papers and policy briefs. These data will be used in future initiatives to build comprehensive decision support systems to better target management interventions.