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Potential of adapted Ethiopian maize germplasm as a source material for maize improvement in semiarid environments



Potential of adapted Ethiopian maize germplasm as a source material for maize improvement in semiarid environments



Angewandte Botanik 69(5-6): 157-162



A total of 834 samples of local adapted maize germplasm were collected from eight administrative regions of Ethiopia; 592 samples in 1984 and 1985, 242 in 1986 and 1987. After collection, the accessions were evaluated at two experimental stations - Awasa and Zewai. Both stations are located in a semi-arid environment of southern Ethiopia where rainfall amount is low. In particular at Zewai, rainfall is poorly distributed and highly variable. Under these conditions, maturity indices of germplasm from Welo, Gamo Gofa, Shewa and Hererge were early to medium. Accessions from Welega, Illubabor, Keffa, and Sidamo area were late types with an average growth period of more than 130 days. Data on maturity indices, plant and ear height, disease and pest reaction, and yield performance revealed the diversity and variability of maize germplasm in Ethiopia. An experiment carried out during 1988 and 1990 under controlled conditions at Awasa indicated the potential and adaptability of unexploited Ethiopian maize germplasm as source material for the maize improvement under stress environments. Germplasm selected for early maturity, drought resistance, disease and pest tolerance, and yield were superior in most aspects compared to a new variety ready for release and a standard check which should further be assessed for trueness to type.

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