Biotech Updates

Scientists Release Disease Free Sweet Potato Varieties

September 24, 2010

Uganda farmers already have the advantage of planting disease free varieties of sweet potatoes. The new sweet potato varieties with weevil and virus resistance were developed and released by crop scientists of the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NACRRI). Scientists continue to develop these varieties through conventional breeding, tissue culture and modern biotechnology techniques. Aside from acquiring disease resistance, they are also improving the nutritional quality of both fresh and dry matter by developing varieties that contain vitamin A. Various indigenous sweet potato species and species coming from the International Potato Center in Peru are being used.

"We usually obtain local collections and keep them in the green house where the crossing of varieties is conducted. When we receive those varieties from Peru, we undergo the same process of crossing them with the indigenous ones. So far we have released 20 varieties between the year 1996 - 2010," said Charles Niringiye, sweet potato agronomist of NACRRI.

The aim of this research program is to improve food security and livelihood of the rural families in Sub-Saharan Africa including Uganda.

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