PLANT breeders at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria have developed a high-yielding variety of cassava that will be able to withstand even drought conditions. Cassava, a tuber that resembles a large potato, is Africa's most widely-grown and staple food.
When the researchers at the institute crossbred cultivated species of the cassava plant with wild varieties, they found the crossbred plants contained spontaneous "polyploids" -- cell nuclei with more than the normal two sets of chromosomes and upto four times the normal number of chromosomes. Plants with more chromosomes have a higher yield.
When tested in field-like conditions, the new variety was found to yield 50-70 tonnes of cassava per ha. The most superior kind of cassava known till now -- TMS 30572 -- yields an average 23 tonnes per ha. In the field, this variety yields just 12 tonnes a ha, while the new variety is expected to yield 40 tonnes on every ha.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.