Exploring forgotten opportunity: white lupin development for food, feed, cash, health, and soil fertility management in Ethiopia
White lupin is an important grain legume in the Ethiopian farming system. However, farmers’ cultivars contain undesirable characters, such as high alkaloid level, are susceptible to diseases and low yielders. In order to ascertain the extent of these constraints with the farmers and document their experiences and practices on white lupin production and processing, detailed baseline survey was conducted in white lupin producing areas of north western Ethiopia. Household level survey data collected from 303 farmers is used for the analysis. The study showed that farmers have long experience in producing lupin on marginal lands for food, feed, soil fertility management, and to generate cash income from sale. It also indicated that majority of lupin farmers perform minimum crop management practices to grow lupin. High alkaloid level in traditional cultivars, prevalence of different lupin diseases and lack of improved varieties are among the top production constrains voiced by most surveyed farmers. The development of white lupin variety would help a lot in overcoming this undesirable feature and boosting grain productivity. Enhancing further research and development initiatives on lupin could help smallholder farmers living on marginal lands to generate better food for home consumption, feed for their livestock, cash income from sale, fix nitrogen for better soil fertility, and rehabilitation of degraded lands.