Analysis of the Values of Enset (Enseteventricosum) in The Socio-Cultural Life of Thegurage of South-Central Ethiopia
Eshettu Tesfaye Retta
Assistant professor, Department of history and heritage management, college of social sciences and humanities, wolaita sodo university, p.o. box: 138, wolaita sodo, ethiopia
DOI : https://doi.org/10.47191/ijsshr/v4-i10-07

Google Scholar Download Pdf

Enset (Enseteventricosum) is a traditional multi-purpose crop mainly used as a staple/co-staple food crop over 20 million people in Ethiopia. The Gurage are sedentary agricultural people of patrilineal persuasion who speak a Semetic language and inhabit in a sparsely fertile semi-mountainous regionin south-central Ethiopia. Enset, their staple food crop, commonly called the “false banana plant”, is produced in abundance by each Gurage homestead. The objective of this study was to document the socio-cultural values of enset plant among the Gurage. In this study, a qualitative methodological approach is employed in extracting information from different sources on the subject in question. The study relied mainly on primary and secondary sources.According to findings, three types of food, viz, Kocho(fermented product from scraped pseudo stem grafted corm), Bulla(dehydrated juice), and Amicho (boiled corm) can be prepared from enset. As a food crop, it has useful attributes such as foods can be stored for long time, grow in wide range of environments, produces high yield per unit area and tolerates drought. It has irreplaceable role as a feed for animals. Enset starch is found to have higher and widely used as a tablet binder and dis-integrant and also in pharmaceutical gelling, drug loading and release processes. Moreover, enset shows high genetic diversity within a population which in turn renders resilience and food security against the ever-changing environmental factors and land use dynamics.Enset is totally involved in every aspects of the daily social and ritual life of the Gurage, who, with other several tribes in southwest Ethiopia, form what has been termed “the EnsetCulture Complex Area”. From birth, when the umbilicus is tied off with a fiber drawn from enset fronds, the life of the Gurage is enmeshed with various uses of enset, not the least of which is nutritional.


Socio-Cultural, Values, Enseteventricosum, Gurage.


1) AlmazNegash. 2001. Diversity and Conservation of Enset (EnseteventricosumWelw. Cheesman) and Its relation to Household Food and Livelihood Security in South-western Ethiopia. MA Thesis, Wageningen University.

2) DirshaDemamWochesa. 2019. Analysis of the Role of Enset (Enseteventricosum) Based Cattle Production in Households’ food Security in Four Selected Districts of Gurage Zone, Southern Ethiopia. Global Veterinaria, Vol., 21 (4).

3) Dorothy N. Shack. 1969. Nutritional Processes and Personality Development Among the Gurage of Ethiopia. University of Pittsburg-Of the Common Wealth System of Higher Education, Vol.8, No.3.

4) GetahunYemata. 2020. Enseteventricosum: A Multi-Purpose Crop against Hunger in Ethiopia. The Scientific World Journal, Vol. 2020

5) Gideon P.E. Cohen. 2000. Language and Ethnic Boundaries: Perceptions of Identity Expressed Through Attitudes Towards the Use of Language Education in Southern Ethiopia. Michigan State University Press, Vol. 7, No.3

6) Hailemariam Gebreyesus. 1991. The Gurage and their Culture. New York: Vantage Press.

7) Haile Seifu. 2009. A Study of Esset as a Means of Existence, Social Organization and Ethnical Identification for the Gurage People. MA Thesis, Department of Visual Cultural Studies, University of Trosmo.

8) LisanuDameneDaracho. 2020. Review on Enset (Enseteventricosum) Value Chain in Ethiopia. Journal of Resources Development and Management, Vol.65.

9) M. Acero, S., B. Mukasa and Y. Baguma. 2018. Morph Types, Distribution and Uses of False Banana in Uganda. African Crop Science Journal, Vol.26.

10) Marsha B. Quinlan, Robert J. Quinlan and Samuel Jilo Dira. 2014. SidamaAgro-Pastoralism and Ethno-biological Classification of Its Primary Plant, Enset (Enseteventricosum).Society of Ethno-biology, Vol.5.

11) MeseretTilahun. 2018. Survey of Cultural Heritages in Soddo Woreda: South Gurage Zone, Ethiopia. MA Thesis, Department of History and Heritage Management, University of Gondar.

12) MesfinSahle, KumelachewYeshitela and Osamu Salto. 2018. Mapping the Supply and Demand of Enset Crop to Improve Food Security in Southern Ethiopia.Journal of Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Vol., 38.7.

13) MistreZergaw. 2019. Enset Value Chain and Its Determinants: The Case of Rural Households in Abeshege Woreda, Gurage Zone, Ethiopia. MA Thesis, Department of Rural Livelihood and Development, Addis Ababa University.

14) Phillip Lebel. 1974. Oral Traditional and Chronicles on Gurage Immigration. Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Vol.12, No.2.

15) Samuel Chimdi, Jemal Abafita and Lemma Shallo. 2020. Participation in Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOS) and Its Impact on Households Wellbeing in Gurage, Southern Ethiopia. International Journal of Current Research, Volume 12, Issue 05.

16) Solomon Tamrat, et al. 2019. Micronutrient Composition and Microbial Community Analysis Across Diverse Landraces of the Ethiopian Orphan Crop, Enset. https://doi.org./10.1101/834564.

17) TadessaDaba and Masayoshi Shigeta. 2016. Enset (Enseteventricosum) Production in Ethiopia: Its Nutritional and Socio-Cultural Values. Asian Online Journal Publishing Group, Vol.3.

18) Tesfaye Feyisa and WondossenAyalew. 2019. Assessment of Dairy Cattle Management in Gurage Zone, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, Ethiopia. International Journal of Research Studies in Agricultural Sciences, Volume 5.

19) William A. Shack. 1966. The Gurage: A People of Enset Culture. London: Oxford University Press.

20) 20.Wolf Leslau. 1956. The Arabic Loanwords in Gurage (Southern Ethiopia), Brill. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4054754

21) Yemane G. Egizabher, et al. 2020. Indigenous Knowledge and Socio-Economic Significance of Enset (Enseteventricosum (Wewl.) Cheesman) Cultivation and Food Processing in Sidama, Southern Ethiopia. A Journal of Plants, People and Applied Research. Ethno-botany Research and Applications.

22) Z. Yemataw, et al. Ethnic-Based Diversity and Distribution of Enset(Enseteventricosum)) Clones in SouthernEthiopia. Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment, Vol. 6 (70.


Indexed In

Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar Avatar