Development in Sweet Potato Breeding as a Panacea to Vitamin A Deficiency and Food Insecurity

M. S. Afolabi, K.A. Shittu, O.O. Oladejo, J.A. Abdul-waheed, M. O. Akoroda


Sweet potato is a resilient food crop with great potential to contribute to reduced hunger in the world. Sweet potato shows significant potential to reducing the Global vitamin A deficiency. The potential of sweet potato to address food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty is crucial in Africa. The present study was undertaken to develop varieties combining yield and beta-carotene (Precursor of Vitamin A) quality in order to address food insecurity and malnutrition in Nigeria. Eight parents (five local varieties and three introduced orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties) were selected base on their cross compatibility to develop populations and, subsequently, to estimate heritability and genetic gain from breeding. One hundred and twenty F1 hybrids and their eight parental clones were evaluated in three locations at Ilesa, Omu-Aran and Ejigbo in an Alpha Lattice design to identify high yielding and beta-carotene rich clones with specific to wide adaptation to the local environments. Data were collected on: β- carotene content expressed as mg 100 g-1; and Dry matter content (g) expressed as a percentage of root fresh mass (g). tuber yield, number of roots per plant, weight of tuber per plant and vine length. The best performances for tuber yield, dry matter content, tuber weight per plant and number of root per plant are obtained at Ilesa with values 16.25±7.24 t/ha, 30.24±4.25%, 169.23±42.1 g/plant and 5.01±0.3 respectfully. When comparing offspring with their parental mean, increase in performance were noticed for tuber yield, beta carotene content, number of roots per plant and tuber weight per plant and vine length 35.12%, 21.31%, 5.45%, 20.88% and 40.28% respectively compared with parental mean. The tuber yield mean varied from 7.21t/ha for the family Kwara-King J to the highest mean of 20.5 t/ha for the family Oja Oba-Mother delight. Parent-offspring regression analyses and estimated genetic gain suggested that rapid progress could be attained in increasing beta carotene which was highly heritable (0.90±0.02) while dry matter exhibited high genetic gain (21.67%). Low heritability (0.23±0.17) associated with low genetic gain indicated that increased storage root yield improvement would be slow. The substantial improvement achieved for yield, dry matter and beta-carotene is highly recommended for combating hidden hunger and vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria.


sweet potato, food security, hybridization, compatibility, genetic gain

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