The significance of enset (Ensete ventricosum Welw. Cheesman) for the food and livelihood security of rural households in Southwestern Ethiopia, where this crop is the main staple, raises two major questions. The first concerns the related issues of household food security and livelihood security and the contribution of the enset farming and food system in achieving these. The second deals with the issue of biodiversity in enset cultivation. What role does biodiversity play in food and livelihood security and how is it perceived and measured? To answer the latter question, it is necessary to look at the issue of classification of enset varieties, comparing indigenous and scientific classifications. In answering the questions, an interdisciplinary approach is used, and both etic and emic perspectives are applied. A gender perspective is applied as well because of the gendered division of labor in enset cultivation and the gendered nature of indigenous knowledge. The analysis draws mainly on the. findings of a recent study on enset cultivation in Ethiopia [Negash (2001) PhD thesis, Wageningen University, The Netherlands]. The findings show that enset farming guarantees household food security to a large extent, but that household livelihood security depends on the cultivation of additional crops and household ownership of livestock and other assets. It was also found that maximizing diversity in enset is of importance to farmers, and that the farmers' classification of enset varieties yields a finer grid than the classification of enset clones on the basis of molecular analysis.
|Journal||Agriculture and Human Values|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|