The objective of the current study was to examine the major constraints in production of root and tuber crops in Ethiopia with emphasis on identifying the policy gaps. This appraisal was based on survey report of Central Statistical Agency (CSA) for the period of 2011 to 2015. Data of CSA report was chosen for the current study with the view to gain an overview of policy packages in root crops in contrast with other major crops. Based on the current assessment, a continuous increase in cultivation acreage has been registered. This contributes to the significant increase in volume of annual productions. The production status in the nation however remains far below its potential limit. Several constraints are responsible for this among which poor access to improved seed and pesticide, unforeseen climatic conditions, weed, diseases and pest problems are the major ones. These factors have caused a significant damage of cultivated land (43,503 ha) for the past five years. Off this, weed, diseases and pests coupled with other biotic factors have accounted for about 40% of this damage. This is mainly due to lack of policy attention to these crops. For instance, improved seed coverage from 2011 to 2015 was even less than 1% of the total cultivated area. Similar policy problems are also evident for pesticide coverage and extension package and these represents only 14 and 17% of the total acreage, respectively. The policy so far has focused mainly on cereals. However, the cereal centered policy so far was unable to reduce rural food insecurity and in fact this problem even got worse and worse over time. Thus, it is essential to reorient this policy by the upcoming plan. Root and tuber crops are among the neglected climate resilient food security crops in Ethiopia requiring an immense policy focus. This will substantially contribute to improve the livelihoods of resource poor farmer’s in the changing climate.
Key words: Root and tuber crops, constraints, food security, policy packages, Central Statistical Agency (CSA) survey.
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