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Ethiopia Garlic is popular in the local and export markets. The raw fresh Ethiopia Garlic bulbs come from family growers in the country. They contribute 95% of the whole garlic national produce.
Origin and uses
The crop is native to Central Asia where it originated 5200 years ago before spreading to other parts of the world.
The crop is also referred to (Allium sativum.L ) Ethiopia Garlic is the second most farmed Allium after onions and is widely by the locals as a food flavoring spice. Its prices at the market are higher compared to other bulb crops grown in Ethiopia. The growers use it for consumption at their homes and use the surplus to generate income.
It survives in a range of climatic conditions and soils thus it is farmed extensively across the country.
Ethiopia garlic production is still relatively low because of a lack of improved varieties. Diseases such as the white rot, downy mildew, garlic rust, basal rot, purple blotch, and onion thrips have also been cited.
Ethiopia exported 138,000 metric tons of garlic last year which was worth $420,000.
The crop is characterized by a stalk the height of 60-67 centimeters extending from a bulb containing many cloves with grass-shaped leaves.
The sharp, strong taste or smell it contains in its raw and cooked form makes it a good supplement for dishes, a trend that is commonly practiced in many households.
Aside from the role, it plays a food seasoning substance locals have used it for ages for medicinal purposes.
After crashing it, they use it to treat diseases such as cold, malaria, hypertension, mental illness, wounds, and sexually transmitted infections. The common practice is whereby one takes a certain number of teaspoons of the garlic ranging from 1-2 twice a day.
Sources & Growing Conditions
Garlic cannot withstand very hot or icy weather conditions as it only thrives in moderate conditions. The northeastern region in the district of Dabat is the dominant garlic producing basket.
This region has elevations ranging from 1000-1300 meters above mean sea levels that are ideal for garlic cultivation.
A common practice amongst farmers is mulching whereby they place organic or synthetic materials on the empty ground surrounding the crops. This practice helps control the weed.
Besides, it helps the soil to retain moisture that is essential for the development of the crop and eventually farmers can generate good yields and bulbs that are larger.
There are three forms of Ethiopia garlic. They include fresh and chilled forms.
Harvesting commences 3-4 months after planting. Farmers use various tools to harvest the garlic including the forks and the spades which serve to pull the garlic bulbs out of the soil. A lot of caution is applied when undertaking this process to avoid damaging the tubers. Any cuts could cause the bulb to wither. They are then placed on dry surfaces and given ample time to cure. It is conducted in a properly-ventilated packing shed until they well dried.
Post-harvesting Handling & Packing
The harvested bulbs are kept under temperatures levels of 4 degrees Celsius to enhance its longevity while still in storage. During packing Ethiopia garlic is placed in sizeable sized wire meshes where there is a free flow of air.
They are then systematically packed in boxes of varying sizes with each weighing weight ranging from 5, 20, and 22 to 30 pounds and readied for export. The cartons are wrapped with film lining. The surplus is set aside for local consumption and mainly supplied to retail selling points.
Ethiopia garlic is transported in designated transportation trucks which are equipped with refrigerators.
The boxes are wrapped with polyurethane wrappers to keep it away from moisture.
They are placed undercooling temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius which ensure they last for long in the course of transit.
Ethiopia garlic is grown under the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) conditions which makes it one of the most sort after crop from the country situated on the horn of Africa.
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