Chickpeas(ሽምብራ) in Ethiopia
Though the origins of chickpeas are debated, Ethiopians like to say that the pulse originated in the Ethiopian highlands, in a town called Desi that bears the same name as the most common variety of the plant. Whether or not this is true, chickpeas have been cultivated for trade and domestic consumption for centuries in Ethiopia and hold an important place in its culinary traditions.
In Ethiopian culture, chickpeas form the basis of one of the most ubiquitous and widely eaten stews, known as shiro. They are a critical ingredient in the country’s traditional and nutrient-rich snack, k’olo, which consists of roasted barley and dried chickpeas. During harvest season, they are eaten fresh, straight off the stalk, and have become a symbol in the country of fertility and prosperity.
Largest producer in the world
Thousand metric tons of marketable surplus
Makes its way to international market
Chickpea production and export
It is not surprising, therefore, that chickpeas are one of Ethiopia’s most important legume crops, accounting for 17% of total pulse production in the country (second only after fava beans) which amounts to more than 470,000 metric tons, annually.
Ethiopia is the fifth largest chickpea producer in the world and one of its largest exporters. Every year, 120 thousand metric tons of marketable surplus chickpeas are produced. Of this, more than 40% makes its way to international market. The majority of these chickpeas are grown by smallholder farmers who still rely on rain-fed and non-mechanized farming practices. As the country modernizes its agriculture sector, however, production potential is increasing rapidly with more crops available for export each season. Given Ethiopia’s favorable climate conditions, both varieties of chickpeas in Ethiopia have two growing seasons each year, further increasing their production potential.
The Desi variety, known for its small bean size and dark color, is grown across Ethiopia’s northern and central highlands and accounts for 90% of total chickpea production in the country. Kabuli chickpeas, which are lighter in color and larger in size than their Desi cousins, are grown in Ethiopia’s central midlands, adjacent to the Rift Valley, and make up the final 10% of overall production.
gram of carbohydrates
small seed size with light brown to dark brown or black seeds Constitutes 75% global chickpea production Mostly grown in S. Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and E. Africa
- Moisture: 13% max
- Fumigated: Freshly
- Damage: 2% max
- Foreign matter: Max 1%
- Color: Natural color & appearance
- Size: 5-7MM
Source of 10
A, B, C, E, K,
Source of protein
and substitute for meat
Dietary fiber cooper manganese and folate
Get in touch
The Agricultural Transformation Agency is an initiative of the Federal Government of Ethiopia Off Meskal Flower Road, across from Commercial Graduates Association