Identification of Pro-vitamin A Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) Varieties for Adaptation and Adoption through Participatory Research
In spite of diligent efforts by National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to make Nigeria the largest producer of cassava in the world, the adoption rate of elite cultivars by farmers is about 40% and that is unacceptable. In addition, all cassava cultivars presently grown in Nigeria are low in essential minerals, vitamins, and protein content, and high in cyanogenic content. Cassava with yellow roots contains elevated levels of β-carotene (pro-vitamin A), an essential nutrient, but they are not commonly grown in Nigeria. Because farmers select cultivars based on multiple criteria, participatory rural appraisal and selection are essential for a successful adoption of new improved varieties. A participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and sensory evaluation were conducted in Abia, Imo, and Ebonyi states of Nigeria to assess farmers’ preferences for pro-vitamin A cassava. Some of the farmer-preferred traits included high yield, early maturity, tolerance to pests and diseases, sweetness, high amount of dry matter (DM) content, easy peeling, marketable roots, and roots that keep long in the ground without decaying. High pro-vitamin A cassava cultivars TMS 01-1368, TMS 05-1636, and TMS 05-0473 were better than farmers’ cultivar NR 8082, because of their color, high premium price, nutritional value, texture, among others, and were selected for adoption.
Njoku, D.N.; Egesi, C.N.; Gracen, V.E.; Offei, S.K.; Asante, I.K.; Danquah, E.Y. Identification of Pro-vitamin A Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) Varieties for Adaptation and Adoption through Participatory Research. Journal of Crop Improvement (2014) 28 (3) 361-376. [DOI: 10.1080/15427528.2014.888694]