HORTICULTURAL AND PRELIMINARY ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF CACTUS PEAR FRUIT UTILIZATION IN TIGRAY, NORTHERN ETHIOPIA
Cactus pear, or beles (Opuntia ficus-indica) as known in Northern Tigray, Ethiopia, is the most important fresh fruit during the summer season. It is widely dispersed in Northern Ethiopia and according to official estimates, covers 300,000 hectares in Tigray. However, it is underrated and sold only by street vendors. Using samples from the four most important locations in Tigray, a basic horticultural description was completed. The study also included a preliminary census of vendors. The market is based on two yellow-orange varieties: 'Gerao' (sweet) and 'Sulhuna' (smooth) as known in the Alitena-Adigrat area; while at the Maychew-Mehonie area, the dominant cultivars are 'Kile' and 'Limo' which are also yellow-fleshed. In both areas, they are offered as a mixture. Fruit quality is poor as a result of the primitive harvest method, and fruit damage ranged from 61 to 86%. Home consumption was estimated at 50%. Beles is offered as far as Axum (260 km Northwest of Mekelle) and other medium sized towns and small villages in the area but not in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. According to our census a total daily production of 105.26 ton per day was estimated. The retail price was 1.5 birr per kilo (1 US= 8 birr). Except for total soluble solids content, significant negative differences were found in all fruit variables when compared to the Mexican standard 'Reyna'. During the peak of the season, nearly 54.5% of the 3,342 street vendors are located at Adigrat which is close to the border with Eritrea.
Mondragon Jacobo, C. and Tegegne, F. (2006). HORTICULTURAL AND PRELIMINARY ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF CACTUS PEAR FRUIT UTILIZATION IN TIGRAY, NORTHERN ETHIOPIA. Acta Hortic. 728, 55-58
Opuntia ficus-indica, fresh fruit, evaluation, marketing