New vegetable variety releases expand market options for Africa’s farmers
Thirty-two nutritious, high yielding, and disease-resistant varieties developed from AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center lines have the potential to extend harvests, increase incomes, and improve health in sub-Saharan Africa
From disease-resistant tomatoes to nutrient-packed indigenous leafy greens that produce over longer periods, 32 new vegetable varieties developed from AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center lines will diversify food production in sub-Saharan Africa and help farmers and communities become more self-su cient and less vulnerable to food price shocks. In early March, the National Variety Release Office in Mali announced the release of 23 improved vegetable varieties developed from AVRDC germplasm.
The varieties were published in Volume III of the Catalogue Officiel Des Espèces et Variétiés maintained by the Seed Laboratory of the National Directorate for Agriculture. Tanzania’s Horticultural Research and Training Institute (HORTI-Tengeru) and the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) through the National Variety Release Committee released nine AVRDC lines as new varieties in February— bringing to 32 the number of vegetable varieties AVRDC and partners have introduced to Africa in 2011 alone. “These releases are a major breakthrough in winning the war against malnutrition in Africa,” said Dr. J.D.H. “Dyno” Keatinge, Director General, AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center.
In Tanzania, the new varieties include tomatoes ‘Duluti’ and ‘Tengeru 2010.’ These varieties have resistance to early and late blight diseases, respectively, which limit production in cool wet weather; the new varieties have the potential to bridge the seasonality gap in production by allowing farmers to grow tomato during the off-season. The fruit can be transported long distances, presenting opportunities for export. High in micronutrients such as carotene and vitamin C, calcium and iron, amaranth is an important vegetable in Tanzania and grows in all agroecological zones.