Farmers in Kavango select best induced mutant seeds

05 Apr 2017 10:00am
BAGANI, 05 APR (NAMPA) – Farmers in the Kavango East and West regions had the opportunity on Tuesday to select the most promising induced mutant seeds that could be adopted as national varieties during the 2017/18 financial year.
The seeds under evaluation are cowpea, pearl millet and sorghum, Director of Agricultural Research and Development (DARD), Johanna Andowa said.
Andowa was speaking at a farmers’ information and field day held to evaluate and select improved varieties of cowpea, pearl millet and sorghum at the Bagani Research Station in the Kavango East Region.
“The first experiments on induced mutation in Namibia were planted in 2009. Since then promising crop lines were identified and were closely observed in order to make distinct selection among them,” she explained.
The objective of the project is to release early maturing mutant varieties with high yield stability, enhanced nutritional composition and tolerance to drought conditions.
Mutation breeding, sometimes referred to as variation breeding, is the process of exposing seeds to chemicals or radiation in order to generate mutants with desirable traits to be bred with other cultivars.
Andowa said the generation of mutant seeds has increased and many different traits have been collected for further evaluation and breeding.
The best emerged selected lines were 24 cowpea, 18 pearl millet and 14 sorghum.
Farmers however only have to choose the best three which will be multiplied to become registered as a national variety.
The project is supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency together with the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the Namibian government.