Challenges facing genetically improving underutilised crops: progress in bambara groundnut
Underlying a number of the biological challenges that bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) faces NDASH an exemplar of underutilised crop species in general - there is a lack of: A) quantitative and comparative data on traits of farmer-defined importance; B) purified genetic lines, mixes and controlled crosses; C) knowledge of optimal field management and genotype-by-environment interactions; D) replicated and properly designed multi-locational field trials leading to locally selected cultivars. Bambara groundnut is a drought tolerant legume that has significant local importance in certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. BamYIELD and its predecessor programmes have worked on overcoming its limitations, such as photoperiod sensitivity that restricts fruiting between a relatively small range of photoperiods (i.e., at or near 12-h day lengths), crossbred contrasting lines for mapping traits of importance, such as peduncle length, and explored the socio-economic issues surrounding crop production in Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia. Progress has accelerated recently and near future plans include an international multi-locational field trial system that will serve as a germplasm evaluation and trait selection programme to both increase advantageous characteristics like drought tolerance and reduce bottlenecks like the food crop's long cooking time. The programme links multiple partners across Africa and Asia, including the International Institute for Tropical Institute, Nigeria, and Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. A component of the field trials programme will be an association genetics panel that will consist of 500 accessions from around the world to be developed by single genotype line selection for phenotyping and genotyping. In addition, nutritional/food profiling will take place on a range of genotypes in various agro-environments and value added products are being developed. The overall framework and methodological toolkit being designed by BamYIELD will be applicable to many other underutilised crops.
Feldman, A.B., Mayes, S., Kendabie, P., Kuan, H.W., Halimi, R.A., Massawe, F. and Azam-Ali, S. (2019). Challenges facing genetically improving underutilised crops: progress in bambara groundnut. Acta Hortic. 1241, 215-220
bambara groundnut, underutilized crops, multi-location field trials, drought tolerance, cookability