Posts Tagged ‘Africa trial sites’

Map of climate similarity to the Maroua, Cameron trial site, based on the Homologue™ model. The areas in red are the most similar in terms of rainfall, temperature and seasonal weather pattern.

While Asia and Latin America have benefitted from the Green Revolution, agricultural yields in Africa have increased little over the last half century.  This gap is due, in part, to the current state of African research systems. Improved systems will lead to increased yields, a solution that African governments and donors already recognize. (more…)


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Dr. Omari Mponda (center) of Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute in Mtwara, Tanzania explains site selection of a new well to irrigate the research station. The tree in the background is a botanical indicator of access to water, one of many clues supporting a geological analysis of groundwater. Dr. Mponda participates in collaborative research of the Generation Challenge Program (GCP).

Irrigation at cultivar trial sites

Irrigated trial sites provide many benefits over those that solely depend on natural rainfall. They allow the researcher to conduct trials in the dry season. For some crops and areas a third season may even be possible. With the irrigation water the researcher can closely control the amount of water applied to the trial. These benefits accelerate the breeding cycle and improve the efficiency of cultivar development.

But many trial sites lack irrigation, which may not have been considered at the outset. The site may be far from a reliable water source. The site may not have access to electricity that could be important for the pumps that move water. Many sites may simply lack the funding needed to develop irrigation.

Development of irrigation would seem to be a smart investment in crop improvement, shortening the time from initial development of a variety all the way to the cultivar’s release to farmers.

How many trial sites have irrigation? Could more be done?

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