Background of the visit.
Dr. Aryo Feldman, External Coordinator for CFF made a visit from 13-20 August 2017 to Nigeria and Kumasi in Ghana under the ITPGRFA-BSF project. This visit was the continuation of the first visit in December 2016. The main objectives of the visit were:
- Visit field partners to assess standard of field work and sites
- Pass on protocols, research tools and minor levels of technique training
- Planning ways forward, particularly in terms of future experiments, training, field work and visits
- Understand issues, challenges and limitations faced by field partners: scientific, administrative, financial and environmental
Visit to Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria
During the trip to IITA, Nigeria, Dr. Feldman visited all three field sites growing bambara groundnut: Mokwa, Niger state, Badeggi, Niger state (both on National Cereal Research Institute campuses), and Kabba, Kogi state (on Ahmadu Bello University Zaria campus). The sites were visited during rainy season which is the best time to grow bambara groundnut. The plants were at the early stage of growing between 7 to 27 days. All 3 sites are purely rainfed and grown without any input to reflect the capacities of local farmers. During the visit, Dr. Feldman also went through a short training on how to use the SPAD meter and its protocol for use.
Dr. Feldman then had a chance to visit Etju market to find bambara groundnut being sold. One bowl fetched NGN 500/600 (±USD1.67) and seeds were mainly cream coloured with some mixing of patterned, brown and purple seeds. Given that now is the planting season for the crop, this is the highest price of the year. For example, compare it to NGN 350 per bowl for mottled black seed, NGN 400 (±USD1.11) for cream one in Mokwa market in December 2016.
Few discussions have been held mainly centred around the ITPGRFA-BSF project and Mr. Ben Faloye MPhil/PhD, which falls squarely into it. So far, seeds had been grown for multiplication and basic characterisation, so the next step would be to perform more detailed phenotyping and begin genotyping. Mr. Ben Faloye is keen to start on sexually crossing parental lines and perform some genetic work. Next planting was planned to be in October 2017 in Ibadan. Once there is sufficient seed numbers, a high throughput drought screen needs to be performed on the panel as guided by the IITA plant physiologist, Dr. Feldman and potentially Tafadzwa Mabhaudi at University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa (UKNZ), who is an expert in plant-water relations in minor crops, including bambara groundnut.
Visit to Council For Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Ghana
During the trip to CSIR-CRI, Ghana, Dr. Feldman went to the on-station field site, which bambara groundnut had been harvested three days prior to his arrival. There had been heavy rains and so yields were variable due to variation to wet adaptation. Seeds were currently being solar dried and yield data was being collected.
A discussion was held during the visit between Dr. Feldman, Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie and Mr. Kennedy Agyeman to discuss issues related to the ITPGRFA-BSF Project. Dr. Joseph Nketiah Berchie expressed his wish to work more closely with IITA in general, given their regional and research ties. Mr. Kennedy Agyeman was keen on having the DArT/genotyping data coming from the AG Panel being a means of his PhD incorporating a genetic component. The next planting will be in the minor season (September 2017) and will include two sites further north in drier environments, in addition to the on-station field site. The two outstations would be on farmers’ fields, which would give opportunity for farmer evaluation, including in comparison to their own growing material. There should be enough planting material for all three sites as seeds have been multiplied for two seasons.