Posts Tagged ‘Tanzania’

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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Dr Hannibal Muhtar and Tanzanian groundnut breeder Dr. Omari Mponda

Naliendele means “eat when you are sleeping” in the local language of Southeast Tanzania. It is also the name of the community where you can find the Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute. According to local legend, a man had been traveling over long distances when he arrived to this community. He was very tired from his long journey. The people of the community gave him food and a place to sleep. The next day the man could not remember if he had eaten any food the previous day. He had been so tired from his journey that he could not remember. The people of the community said he ate while he was sleeping.

Naliendele ARI is an important site for research on cashew nut, groundnut, sesame, cassava and other crops.

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