Journal of Innovative Agriculture, Volume 9, Issue 1 : 1-9. Doi : 10.37446/jinagri/ra/9.1.2022.1-9
Review Article

OPEN ACCESS | Published on : 31-Mar-2022

Niger improvement and production in Ethiopia: progress and major challenges

  • Misgana Merga
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ambo Agricultural Research Center, P.O. Box 37, Ambo, Ethiopia.


Niger crop is one of the under-utilized oil crops, but very crucial in Ethiopian diets and export system. Despite its importance, many problems have to be addressed through research. Starting from the beginning when a multidisciplinary approach of niger breeding started during the late 1960s century, some efforts have been made to overcome the major limitations of niger production and productivity in Ethiopia. However, there is a minimum application of modern breeding, and many challenges persist. The major challenges that face the niger breeding and production in Ethiopia are the nature of the crop (self-incompatibility), lodging and shattering, low yielding potential, susceptibility to pests, poor agronomic practices, less attention, and low inputs and modern farm technology. These challenges are retarding the breeding and also the production system of the niger. To make niger research more impactful on these challenges, exploiting and the use of novel research techniques which may include gene identification and transformation are very important. Moreover, genomic assisted breeding holds tremendous potential for improving productivity and provides better information for the breeding of niger. This review was provided with a brief explanation of the status of niger breeding and biotechnology aspects and the major challenges facing niger research and production in Ethiopia. Besides, the gap of research was forwarded in this document.


nigerseed, breeding of nigerseed, biotechnology of nigerseed, self-incompatibility


  • Acquaah, G. (2009). Principles of plant genetics and breeding. John Wiley & Sons.

    Adda, S., Reddy, T., & Kishor, P. K. (1994). Androclonal variation in niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass). Euphytica, 79(1), 59-64.

    Alemaw, G., & Alemayehu, N. (1992). Production and research on oilseeds in Ethiopia. In First National Oilseeds Workshop, Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), 3-5 Dec 1991. IAR.

    Baagoe, J. (1974). The genus Guizotia (Compositae). A taxonomic revision. Bot. Tidsskrift, 69, 1-39.

    Baghel, S., & Bansal, Y. K. (2013). Micropropagation and flowering of a biodiesel plant niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.). Asian. J. Exp. Biol. Sci, 4(4), 532-539.

    Baghel, S., & Bansal, Y. K. (2014). Thidiazuron promotes in vitro plant regeneration and phytochemical screening of Guizotia abyssinica cass. - a multipurpose oil crop. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4(1), 1193-1217.

    Belayneh, H. (1991). Oilcrop germplasm: A vital resource for the plant breeder. Plant Genetic Resources of Ethiopia (JMM Engels, JG Hawkes and M. Worede, eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 344-354.

    Bhat, J., & Murthy, H. (2007). Factors affecting in-vitro gynogenic haploid production in niger (Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass.). Plant Growth Regulation, 52(3), 241-248.

    Bhat, J., & Murthy, H. (2008). Haploid plant regeneration from unpollinated ovule cultures of niger (Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass.). Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, 55(2), 241-245.

    Burnette, R., & Director, E. C. H. O. (2010). The recent introduction of niger seed (Guizotia abyssinica) production in Northern Thailand. ECHO Asia Notes, 6.

    CSA. (2018). Report on areas and production of major crops. Agricultural sample survey, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 1-54.

    Dagne, K. (1994). Cytology, phylogeny and oil quality of Guizotia Cass (Compositae). PhD Dessertation. Addis Abeba University, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

    Dempewolf, H., Kane, N. C., Ostevik, K. L., Geleta, M., Barker, M. S., Lai Z, Stewart, M. L., Bekele, E., Engels, J. M., & Cronk, Q. C. (2010). Establishing genomic tools and resources for Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass.—the development of a library of expressed sequence tags, microsatellite loci, and the sequencing of its chloroplast genome. Molecular Ecology Resources, 10(6), 1048-1058.

    Dempewolf, H., Tesfaye, M., Teshome, A., Bjorkman, A. D., Andrew, R. L., Scascitelli, M., Black, S., Bekele, E., Engels, J. M., & Cronk, Q. C. (2015). Patterns of domestication in the Ethiopian oil‐seed crop noug (Guizotia abyssinica). Evolutionary applications, 8(5), 464-475.

    Dutta, P. C, Helmersson, S., Kebedu, E., Alemaw, G., & Appelqvist, L. Å. (1994). Variation in lipid composition of niger seed (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.) samples collected from different regions in Ethiopia. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 71(8), 839-843.

    FAO & AUC (2018). Sustainable agricultural mechanization: a framework for Africa. Addis Ababa, 127p.

    Ganapathi, T., & Nataraja, K. (1993). Effect of auxins and cytokinins on plant regeneration from hypocotyls and cotyledons in niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.). Biologia plantarum, 35(2), 209-215.

    Geleta, M., & Bryngelsson, T. (2010). Population genetics of self-incompatibility and developing self-compatible genotypes in niger (Guizotia abyssinica). Euphytica, 176(3), 417-430.

    Geleta, M., Bryngelsson, T., Bekele, E., & Dagne, K. (2007). Genetic diversity of Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass.(Asteraceae) from Ethiopia as revealed by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 54(3), 601-614.

    Geleta, M., Bryngelsson, T., Bekele, E., & Dagne, K. (2008). Assessment of genetic diversity of Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass.(Asteraceae) from Ethiopia using amplified fragment length polymorphism. Plant Genetic Resources, 6(1), 41-51.

    Getinet, A., & Sharma, S. (1996). Niger, Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome.

    Hiremath, S. C., & Murthy, H. N. (1988). Domestication of niger (Guizotia abyssinica). Euphytica, 37(3), 225-228.

    Hiremath, S., & Murth, H. (1992). Cytogenetical studies in Guizotia (Asteraceae). Caryologia, 45(1), 69-82.

    Hussain, Z., Yadav, S., Kumar, S., Suneja, P., Nizar, M., Yadav, S., Yadav, S. K., & Dutta, M. (2015). Molecular characterization of niger [Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass.] germplasms diverse for oil parameters. Indian Journal of Biotechnology, 14(3), 344-350.

    Jadimath, V., Murthy, H., Pyati, A., Kumar, H. A., & Ravishankar, B. (1998). Plant regeneration from leaf cultures of Guizotia abyssinica (niger) and Guizotia scabra. Phytomorphology, 48(2), 131-135.

    Kumar, H., Murthy, H., Jadimath, V., Sheelavantmath, S., Pyati, A., & Ravishankar, B. (2000). Direct somatic embryogenesis and plantlet regeneration from leaf explants of niger, Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 38, 1073-1075.

    Lefebvre, V. (2012). Mid-term review of the joint program “Edible Oil Value Chain Enhancement.” Final Report. 18-30.

    Mekbib, H. (1991). Crop germplasm multiplication, characterization, evaluation and utilization at PGRC/E. In: Engels, J. M. M., Hawkes, J. G., & Worede, M. (Editors.). Plant genetic resources of Ethiopia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Melchinger, A. (1993). Use of RFLP markers for analysis of genetic relationships among breeding materials and prediction of hybrid performance. International crop science I, 621-628.

    Melchinger, A., Messmer, M., Lee, M., Woodman, W., & Lamkey, K. (1991). Diversity and relationships among US maize inbreds revealed by restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Crop Science, 31(3), 669-678.

    Mineo, L. (1990). Plant tissue culture techniques. Tested studies for laboratory teaching, 11, 151-174.

    Misganaw, A., & Abera, S. (2017). Genetic diversity assessment of Guzoita abyssinica using EST derived simple sequence repeats (SSRs) markers. African Journal of Plant Science, 11(4), 79-85.

    Murthy, H. (1996). Cytogenetics of Guizotia species and origin of niger. Proc. Indian natn. Sci. Acad, 62, 221-226.

    Murthy, H. N., Kumar, H. G. A., & Paek, K. Y. (2000). Anther culture of niger. Korean Journal of Plant Tissue Culture, 27(4), 353-358.

    Murthy, H., & Paek, K. (2000). Anther culture of niger. Journal of Plant Biotechnology, 27, 353.

    Murthy, H., Jeong, J., Choi, Y., & Paek, K. (2003). Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of niger [Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass.] using seedling explants. Plant cell reports, 21(12), 1183-1187.

    Nagella, P., Hosakatte, N. M., Ravishankar, K., Hahn, E. J., & Paek, K. Y. (2008). Analysis of genetic diversity among Indian niger [Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass.] cultivars based on randomly amplified polymorphic DNA markers. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, 11(1), 140-144.

    Naik, P. M., & Murthy, H. N. (2010). Somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration from cell suspension culture of niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.). Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 32(1), 75-79.

    Nemomissa, S., Bekele, E., & Dagne, K. (1999). Self-incompatibility system in the Ethiopian populations of Guizotia abyssinica (LF) Cass.(niger). Sinet: Ethiopian Journal of Science, 22(1), 67-88.

    Nikam, T., & Shitole, M. (1993). Regeneration of niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.) CV Sahyadri from seedling explants. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 32(3), 345-349.

    Nikam, T., & Shitole, M. (1997). In vitro plant regeneration from callus of niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.) cv. Sahyadri. Plant Cell Reports, 17(2), 155-158.

    Petros, Y., Merker, A., & Zeleke, H. (2007). Analysis of genetic diversity of Guizotia abyssinica from Ethiopia using inter simple sequence repeat markers. Hereditas, 144(1), 18-24.

    Ramadan, M., & Morsel, J. (2002). Proximate neutral lipid composition of niger (Guizotia abyssinica Cass.) Seed. Czech Journal of Food Sciences, 20(2), 98-104.

    Ranganatha, A., Panday, A. K., Bisen, R., Jain, S., & Sharma, S. (2016). Niger. In: Gupta, S. K. (Editors). Breeding Oilseed Crops for Sustainable Production. Nikki Levy, Elsevier.

    Sarvesh, A., Reddy, T., & Kishor, P. K. (1993). Embryogenesis and organogenesis in cultured anthers of an oil yielding crop niger (Guizotia abyssinica. Cass). Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 35(1), 75-80.

    Sarvesh, A., Reddy, T., & Kishor, P. K. (1996). In vitro anther culture and flowering in Guizotia abyssinica Cass. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 34(6), 565-568.

    Seegeler, C. J. P. (1983). Oil plants in Ethiopia: their taxonomy and agricultural significance. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands.

    Sisay, D. T., Verhees, F. J., & Van Trijp, H. C. (2017). Seed producer cooperatives in the Ethiopian seed sector and their role in seed supply improvement: A review. Journal of Crop Improvement, 31(3), 323-355.

    Sujatha, M. (1997). In vitro adventitious shoot regeneration for effective maintenance of male sterile niger Guizotia abyssinica (Lf) Cass. Euphytica, 9(1), 89-95.

    Sujatha, M., Dangi, K. S., & Sivasankar, A. (2009). Efficient plantlet regeneration from seedling explants of niger (Guizotuia abyssinica Cass). Int. J. Agric. Environ. & Biotech., 2(4), 438-444.

    Tadele, Z. (2018). African orphan crops under abiotic stresses: challenges and opportunities. Scientifica, 2018, 1-19.

    Tesfaye, D., Tileye, F., & Kefle, D. (2011). In vitro regeneration of niger (Guizotia abyssinica L.F.) Cass.). International Journal of Biosciences, 1(6), 110-118.

    Tesfaye, M., Adugna, W., Abush, T., Terefe, G., Weyessa, B., & Semahegn, Y. (2016). Achievements, Challenges and Future Prospects Edible Oilseeds Research and Development in Ethiopia. In: Alemu, D., Derso, E., Assefa, G., & Kirub, A. (Editors). Agricultural Research for Ethiopian Renaissance, UNECA, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Addis Ababa, 81-94.

    Tiwari, S., Kumar, S., & Gontia, I. (2011). Minireview: Biotechnological approaches for sesame (Sesamum indicum L.). AsPac J. Mol. Biol. Biotechnol, 19, 2-9.

    USDA & GAIN. (2020). Ethiopia oilseeds report annual. pp 21.

    Weiss, E. A. (1983). Oilseed crops. Longman Group.

    Wijnands, J., Biersteker, J., & Hiel, R. (2007). Oilseeds business opportunities in Ethiopia. Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and food quality, the Netherlands.