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Making strides with groundnut CLSD resistance - ACCI - African Centre for Crop Improvement

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Making strides with groundnut CLSD resistance
Groundnut is a hugely important crop in Africa because of its high edible oil and protein content, with our continent producing 28% of the global crop.

One of the ACCI’s recent graduates, Dr Eluid Kongola, has produced research related to breeding for resistance to Cercospora leaf spot diseases (CLSD) that could help boost that figure.

Kongola studied for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sokoine University in Tanzania before joining the ACCI PhD programme in 2014. He chose to focus his research on CLSD affecting groundnut in Tanzania, after noticing that in Dodoma, the area where he is based, an increase in the disease over time was having a marked impact on production.

His PhD was funded by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and supervised by Professor Rob Melis and Dr Julia Sibiya.
Groundnut is a hugely important crop in Africa because of its high edible oil and protein content, with our continent producing 28% of the global crop.

One of the ACCI’s recent graduates, Dr Eluid Kongola, has produced research related to breeding for resistance to Cercospora leaf spot diseases (CLSD) that could help boost that figure.

Kongola studied for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sokoine University in Tanzania before joining the ACCI PhD programme in 2014. He chose to focus his research on CLSD affecting groundnut in Tanzania, after noticing that in Dodoma, the area where he is based, an increase in the disease over time was having a marked impact on production.

His PhD was funded by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and supervised by Professor Rob Melis and Dr Julia Sibiya.
Dr Eluid Kongola
CLSD is caused by a fungus that produces lesions on the leaves of the plant, thereby affecting photosynthesis and causing crop loss of up to 70% if not controlled.

“I did my research in three districts in Dodoma region, where groundnut is grown widely,  and found that the disease was prevalent in all three areas at a high percentage,” he says.

Kongola evaluated groundnut genotypes from different sources, examining samples from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre of Tanzania. He also collected groundnut from local markets and farmers.

“I evaluated the agronomic performance and reaction to disease to find sources of resistance,” he says.

He identified possible sources of genes that could be used to breed groundnut varieties with improved agronomic performance and disease resistance. Importantly, he identified the gene action controlling the inheritance of Cercospora leaf spot disease resistance and grain yield.

He also conducted multi-locational trials to test crosses and parents for stability and adaptability across locations and environments. This work is continuing.

Kongola is currently employed by Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) in the Ministry of Agriculture, as Agricultural Research Officer. He also manages a department of research and innovation at the station and is in charge of a project focussing on seed production and delivery systems on the programme, Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) for Sorghum and Millets under ICRISAT.


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