Breeding For Early Maturity, Drought, Disease and Insect Resistance in Sweet Potato

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Date
1983
Authors
Shakoor,A
Kiarie,A.W
Njuguna,G.M
Mihiu,S.G
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Abstract
In Kenya, sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is grown on 40,000 ha annually (Ministry of Agriculture, Annual Report 1981) and is the third most important tuber crop after Irish potato and cassava. Most of the acreage lies in the densely populated areas of Central (13,000 hal and Nyanza Provinces (14,200 hal (Central Bureau of Statistics, 1977). In the semi-arid areas of Eastern Province the crop is grown in a limited area (1,900 hal. The total production of sweet potato is 340,000 tonnes at an average yield of 8,947kg/ha (FAO, 1974). The farmers grow local land races depending on taste, skin, and fleshcolour preferences. White flesh-colour types are predominant in Central and Eastern Provinces, while both white and orange flesh types are grown in Western and Nyanza Provinces. Up to the late 1960s the use of sweet potato as a food was common. There is, however, a declining trend in the consumption of sweet potatoes, particularly in Central Province. The per capita consumption during the 1964-1966 period was 29.5 kg, which dropped to 26.3 kg during 1972- 74 (FAO Food Balance Sheets). This may be partly due to an increasing trend to grow more maize and cash crops. Sweet potato, being a long duration and less remunerative crop, is receiving less attention from the farmers in these areas.
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East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 44, p. 318-323