By Prossy Nandudu and Joshua Kato
To respond to the challenges, Dr Michael Ugen, the director of NaSARRI, said they have so far developed 24 varieties with the most recent variety being Serenut 1 to 14 and naronuts 1-2 series, but adds the new varieties are faced with varied agro ecological zone, land tenure systems, diverse market preferences and Climate change which calls for continuous research.
“For areas prone to drought, we breed for drought resistance; where there are floods, we breed varieties that don’t take long, withstand water logging in addition to breeding for resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance,” Ugen added.
He, however, added that when addressing the demand, breeding is done to maintain the original traits preferred by consumers especially those varieties that are no longer resistant to pests and diseases.
“That is why if people are interested in the red colour, we maintain that to produce varieties that meet consumer demands that could be resistance to diseases, high yielding and good taste, among others.”
The Serenut series released so far include those with a higher oil content needed in the production of peanut butter, therapeutic foods; leaf miner resistance, for the confectionary industry, aflatoxin tolerance, early to medium maturity periods, resistant to groundnut rosette, and also high yielding, added Ugen.
Plans to increase seed from the released varieties
In order to increase the uptake of the new varieties, Ugen explained that NaSARRI has several strategies in place. One of the strategies is working with farmer groups in seed multiplication to increase the production of seed and also make it available for farmers.
“Through our research, we found out that 71% of the groundnuts seed is informal, that is farmer to farmer, 29% is got from research or seed companies, still need to invest more, hence working with farmer groups,” Ugen added.