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January 2016

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ISTRC Meeting

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Library News

January 2016 - Issue No.6   

Welcome to the Edible Aroids Newsletter

Vincent Lebot, Technical Coordinator writes ...

With only a year to go before its official EU support ends, what has the International Network for Edible Aroids (INEA) achieved in the four short years of its existence?

Quite a lot, as we shall see. Not only has INEA achieved international recognition in that time, but has pioneered a low-cost means of exchanging taro seed to allow a successful improvement programme to be implemented in many taro-producing countries.

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INEA was inaugurated at an opportune moment in 2011 just after the taro leaf blight epidemic had reached West Africa. This meant that the newly-formed network was able to help its partners immediately, and also those countries which had not yet joined the scheme. READ MORE


Flavonoids Add Colour to Taro

In recent months, a couple of papers have appeared from the CIRAD and VARTC groups in Vanuatu concerning flavonoids. The breeding programme there is attempting to improve corm quality, focusing on flesh colour and its attractiveness, as it is known that yellow and pink coloured corm flesh are favoured by consumers. Earlier work has shown that of all root crops the range of flavonoids is greatest in taro.



Gene Flow Between Wild & Cultivated Taro, PNG

Is there natural flow of genes between wild populations of taro and their domesticated relatives? Jeffrey Waki, Plant Breeder, National Agricultural Research Institute, set out to find the answer as part of his Masters programme. The study, at The NARI Momase Regional Centre, Bubia, involved the dispersal of pollen between wild and cultivated populations and genetic analyses of seedlings to establish parentage.



New Hybrids in the Field, Nigeria

The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, has the mandate for genetic improvement of root and tuber crops, including taro. Over the years, it has been difficult breed taro because most varieties do not flower, or they fail to set seed. In recent years, the situation has changed greatly.



Tolo Turns to Tolerance for Drought

The success of the taro leaf blight breeding has given the Samoa programme great confidence that it will be just as successful improving drought tolerance. Not before time too. This is a year of the Pacific El Nino, and already there have been long periods of drought in Samoa and Tonga.



International Symposium Root & Fruit Crops - INIVIT, Cuba

The Third International Symposium on Roots, Rhizomes, Tubers, Plantains, Bananas and Papaya, was held at Santa Clara, Cuba, 20-22 October 2015. It was hosted by INIVIT - Instituto de Investigaciones de Viandas Tropicales. Two INEA partners attended: Greg Robin, CARDI, and Guillermo Reyes Castro, University of Nicaragua



Participatory trials in PNG & distributions to Farmer Groups

The success from producing plants with tolerance to taro leaf blight has given the Samoa programme the  confidence that it will be just as successful improving drought tolerance. Not before time too. This is a year of the Pacific El Nino, and already there have been long periods of drought in Samoa and Tonga.



Cocoyam in West & Central Africa - A Review

Joe Onyeka has produced a paper on the status of cocoyam in West and Central Africa for the CGIAR Roots, Tubers and Bananas programme. Cocoyam is not one crop but two, Colocasia esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium. They are both extremely important to small-scale farmers in Africa, especially in the wetter parts.



World Congress on Root & Tuber Crops, Nanning, China, 18-22 January 2015.

The World Congress is also hosting a meeting of the International Society of Tropical Root Crops this week. This will be the 17th Intentional Triennial Symposium. The last one was held at Abeokuta, Nigeria. 24-28 September 2012. A set of abstracts for the Nanning meeting has been compiled and these are provided. They are below:


Partners Progress  

Partners' Progress

DSMZ, Germany. Plants sent from PNG with alomae disease have been established in the glasshouse, and are growing. Unfortunately, no symptoms have appeared yet. These were from Madang, Papua New Guinea, next to the Binatang Centre, set up by Vojtech Novotny to study community and evolutionary ecology of insect herbivores, especially in rain forests.


INEA is led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Fiji, and the Centre de Cooporation Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD), France and Vanuatu. The project is made possible by a generous EU grant of €3 million.