A Study on the Agro-Biodiversity with Special Emphasis on the Relationship Between Distance from Homestead and Crop Diversity on -Farm in Fontanina, Southwelo

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Addis Ababa Universty


The distribution of crops with distance from the homestead was studied in 324 peasant faIms in Fontanina village (South Welo). Edaphic, climatic and socio-cultural factors play impOliant roles in the distribution of crop species. Farmers categorized their farms into three main classes and each class is located at different distance from the farm house- hold residence, and contains crops of different value. The homegardens are characterized by pere1l1lial plants composed of const11lction and fiuit trees. The nearby farms and main crop fields are fields of annual crops. The nearby farms are characterized by Zea mays L. and other crops planted for immediate use in preharvest periods. The main fields are dominated by Sorghum bie%r (L.) Moench and Eragrostis tef (Zucc.) Trotter. Multivariate statistical analysis of presence I absence data of species in a sample of 65 stands (farms) shows two distinct groups of falms. The fields of annual crops are categorized together and the homegardens formed a separate group. The variation among the homegardens is also detected. Clustering of 50 stands from annual crop fields based on quantitative data of 22 species resulted in three clusters (crop community types) and two plots. Estimation of the frequency of sorghum intraspecific diversity in 123 fields indicated that the frequency of sorghum landraces decreased due to shOliage of rainfall, while that of fast maturing, introduced varieties, of sorghum increased. The discussion undertaken with the interviewed farmers revealed that traditional farmers have accumulated knowledge by which they classify their fanns and crops, distribute crops in their fields and maintain or preserve landrace diversity. This knowledge can fonn the basis for scientific research activities in different branches of conservation and development. For example, it is vital to include farmers' knowledge in the efforts of strengthening the scientific basis of iI/situ conservation of crop genetic resources and in upbringing sustainable agricultural systems.



Farm in Fontanina