Evaluation of agronomic performance of coffee (Coffea arabica L.) cultivars in Gamo and Gofa, southern Ethiopia
Ethiopia is identified as a primary centre of Arabica coffee plant origin and genetic diversity. Climatic variations, varietal differences, soil type, mulching, shade, the farming method used, pruning, and other cultural practices are the major factors that affect the development of plants including coffee. Amongst the various factors for having a good yield of coffee is growing of coffee plant in its specific agro-ecologies which has a great contribution to both the life span of the coffee trees and its yield. This experiment was conducted to evaluate the performance of different released and local Arabica coffee varieties across two locations at Gamo and Gofa zones, Southern Ethiopia. The varieties which were used for the study were transplanted in 2014 and laid out in randomized complete block design with three replications across locations. The varieties were planted at a spacing of 2m by 2m between plants and rows, respectively and were evaluated for growth, yield and yield components. The analysis of variance performed for average internodes number, canopy diameter, height up to the primary branch, length of the primary branch, number of branches on the main stem and total height of coffee plant showed significant variations across locations. From the present evaluation, it was noted that the highest Clean Coffee Yield (16.6 and 14.2 qt ha‑1) was scored by coffee cultivars F-59 and 1377A, respectively. Moreover, because of the low quality of coffee delivered to the market, the coffee produced in the Gamo Gofa area (garden coffee) is categorized under forest coffee at the national level. If the quality is improved, the coffee in the area would have its appropriate brand name and the growers and traders can get better returns from their investment. Therefore, those varieties investigated are good candidates for future coffee cup quality analysis.
Key words: Canopy diameter; Local and improved variety; Growth; Performance; Yield.
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