Five new groundnut varieties were released for commercial production in Zambia. These new releases bring the total number of ICRISAT-bred varieties in Zambia to 12. The new releases were made after a gap of seven years.

Farmers select the new variety Wamusanga during a farmer participatory variety selection_Zambia

The entire process began in 2011 with evaluation with farmers and other stakeholders where a total of 12 promising varieties were introduced in the eastern province of Zambia. Following two seasons of evaluation, outcomes of the participatory varietal selection and field days revealed farmers’ preference on five varieties based on the attributes listed.The new varieties out-yielded the local check by an average 15-25%.

grounut varieties in zambiaAs the variety release procedure in Zambia stipulates, prior to the commercialization of a crop variety, it is tested for distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) and for value for cultivation and use (VCU). The test for distinctness is used to establish that the new variety differs from those of common knowledge in at least one characteristic for it to be considered for release. Uniformity establishes that the phenotypic expression of the new variety is the same when it is replicated in an experiment. This implies that the variety would perform uniformly in a farmer’s field. Stability tests whether the new variety is able to maintain its phenotypic expression even after repeated multiplication (across time and space).

In 2013, the materials were submitted to the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) for evaluation in all the three regions of Zambia: Msekera, and Golden Valley Research Stations (Region 2: 800 – 1,000 mm), Masumba Research Station (Region 1: low altitude, hot and dry), Mansa and Misamfu (Region 3: >1,000 mm; cool and wet).

The new varieties were released in September 2015. The seven varieties released earlier include MGV 4, Chishango, Luena, MGS 2, Katete, Chipego and MGV 5.

This activity was part of the USAID project  IFINITE – Improving Groundnut Farmer Incomes and Nutrition through Innovation and Technology Enhancement which is undertaken as part of  CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings