Farmer perceptions and genetic studies of rosette disease in groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) in northern Mozambique.
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is an important food and cash crop in Mozambique and production has been constrained by lack of high-yielding cultivars and disease infection. Objectives of this study were: 1) to identify farmers’ major groundnut production constraints and their preferences for cultivars; 2) to determine genotypic variation among landraces for agro-morphological traits and resistance to groundnut rosette disease; 3) to determine agronomic performance and resistance to groundnut rosette disease among advanced groundnut lines; and 4) to determine the inheritance of resistance to groundnut rosette disease. The study was conducted in northern Mozambique from 2008/2009 to 2010/2011. In attempt to identify farmers’ major groundnut production constraints and their preferences in cultivars, a participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was conducted in Namuno and Erati districts in northern Mozambique. Results from the PRA showed that farmers were aware of the constraints affecting groundnut production and productivity in the study area. The major constraints included groundnut rosette disease, insect pests, lack of seeds and improved cultivars, low soil fertility and lack of infra-structure. Groundnut rosette disease was ranked the most important constraint, and it was widespread in the region. Selection criterion for groundnut cultivars used by women differed from that used by men within village and across villages. However, high yield and oil content were the most important traits preferred by farmers followed by pod and seed size, earliness, disease and insect pest resistance. Fifty-eight groundnut landraces were collected from northern Mozambique (Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Zambezia) and evaluated for variation in agro-morphological traits and resistance to groundnut rosette disease. The landraces showed high phenotypic diversity in agro-morphological traits. Clustering by nearest neighbour method indicated that the genotypes could be grouped into six clusters, indicating that agro-morphological diversity exists. The highest yielding genotypes were Pambara-4, Pambara-2, Pambara-6, lle-1, Imponge-1-Tom and Gile-5. There was considerable genetic variability for resistance to groundnut rosette disease among the landraces. Four landraces (PAN-4, Imponge-4, Pambara-3, Metarica Joao) were classified as resistant. No significant correlation was observed between seed yield and groundnut rosette incidence. Thirty-two improved lines were evaluated for performance in two growing seasons across three locations in northern Mozambique (Nampula, Namapa and Mapupulo). The results indicated that the highest yielding genotype was 23A and the highest yielding location was Namapa. There was a significant and negative correlation between seed yield and groundnut rosette disease indicating that the seed yield was negatively influenced by the disease. The results on stability analysis indicated that genotype 35B was the most stable across environments since it had coefficient of regression around unity (bi=1.024), high coefficient of determination (R2=0.999), and small variance deviation (var-dev=162.8), and 13 % above average seed yield. It is, therefore, concluded that genotype 35A could be recommended for cultivation on diverse environments of northern Mozambique. A trial was conducted using the parents and F2 populations derived from a 7 X 7 diallel cross. The test materials were infected with groundnut rosette disease using the spreader-row technique. The results indicated that no genotype was immune to disease. The mean squares due to both general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) were significant indicating that additive and non-additive gene actions were involved in the expression of resistance to groundnut rosette disease. The general predictability ratio (GCA:SCA) was 0.97, indicating the predominance of additive over non-additive gene action in the inheritance of the disease. The study also found that groundnut rosette disease was controlled by two recessive genes. However, some genetic modifiers may also be present and influence disease expression. In general, the study revealed that breeding opportunities do exist, incorporating farmers preferred traits and major groundnut production constraints into new groundnut cultivars. Improving cultivars for resistance to groundnut rosette disease will be a major breeding focus, while selection for other traits and constraints will not be ignored. Resistance has been identified from local landraces. Advanced lines with high yields across environments were identified that can be recommended for release. The high significant additive effects observed for groundnut rosette disease implied genetic advance could be effective in the F2 and later generations through selection, although modifiers could slow the progress.
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