Could Enset be the crop of the future?
Enset is cultivated in Southwest Ethiopia, but could be cultivated in much larger parts of Africa. That is what a recent study that came out in Environmental Research Letters is stating. Ken Giller, professor at the Plant Production Systems chair group, highly doubts an expansion of the Enset cultivation area in the future as it doesn’t taste very nice. That is what Giller commented in de Volkskrant recently.
According to Giller the cultivated area with Enset is even decreasing as a result of increasing population pressure. Enset grows in small fields around the homestead, but these fields are ever declining in size. Space for keeping cows is lacking, perhaps only for a few sheep or goats. Consequently, Enset is less fertilized, soil fertility is on its’ return, and because Enset needs quite a lot of manure, yields decline drastically.
Two other major drawbacks of Enset is that it is a very time consuming crop and that the nutritional value is low. According to Giller we need to aim for a diversification of the diet. Poor people lack money for animal products. Hence, they need to eat a much more diverse plant based diet to get all the required nutrients.