Indigenous African crops meet state of the art plant breeding


Dr Achigan-Dako during a leaf sampling exercise for marker-assisted selection at the African Plant Breeding Academy training in Nairobi. Photo by C Watson/ICRAF
Dr Achigan-Dako during a leaf sampling exercise for marker-assisted selection at the African Plant Breeding Academy training in Nairobi. Photo by C Watson/ICRAF

Few plant breeders in the world work on indigenous African crops. In fact, the lack of research on these nutritious and locally valued plants has been almost total. But Dr Enoch Achigan-Dako, a researcher from Benin, is working on four at the same time. He is equally passionate about each and, between training sessions at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), expounds on them one by one.

Amaranthus can never disappear from our farms,” says the senior lecturer at the University of Abomey- Calavi. “Within one month, you have your plant. But I want to cross Amaranthus cruentus with A. dubius for bigger leaves and taller plants. I also want to delay the flowering time, because once the plant flowers, vegetable sellers think it is old. They want tender leaves.”…Read more