The study was conducted at Dhera Sub-center of Kulumsa Agricultural Research Center, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia from July - December 2011; to screen drought tolerance of 96 finger millet accessions (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn.) collected from different agro-ecological zones of the country. Data were collected for plant height (PH), green leaf number (GLN), green leaf area (GLA), ear number (EN), ear length (EL) and relative water content (RWC). Significant difference (P<0.05) were obtained between accessions for most selected physiological, morphological and yield related traits such as Chlorophyll Content Index (CCI), RWC, and yield related parameters, such as tiller number (TN), productive tillers (PT), seed weight per head and per plant. Based on high RWC, CCI, GLN, PT, EL, and EN, Grain Yield per head and per plant, a total of 23 accessions were categorized as drought stress tolerance and promoted to the next intensive physiological and yield related evaluation. Moreover, AAUFM-7, AAUFM-2, AAUFM-44 were the first top three accessions with the highest grain yield of 77.5, 72g/plant and 65.4g/plant, respectively. Overall, the higher genetic variability observed among accession in this study should be further utilized for finger millet improvement targeting semi-arid areas of Ethiopia.


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