Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA

Entebbe, Uganda

Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA

Entebbe, Uganda

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Afari-Sefa V.,The World Vegetable Center | Chagomoka T.,The World Vegetable Center | Karanja D.K.,CABI Inc | Njeru E.,The World Vegetable Center | And 4 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2013

The growing scourge of malnutrition due to unhealthy and imbalanced diets has led to increased public health awareness and advocacy for diversifying diets with highly nutritious indigenous vegetables and fruits. Several studies have shown that indigenous vegetables rich in micronutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and other health-related phytochemicals with antibiotic, probiotic and prebiotic properties can play a key role in addressing human nutrition and development. However, a major reason for the low adoption of indigenous vegetables from Africa is the inability of formal, centralized seed production systems to meet their complex and diverse seed requirements. Drawing on experiences in Tanzania with amaranth, African nightshade and African eggplant, this paper provides a preliminary assessment of the viability of seed production under two farmer-led seed enterprise models, namely, contract seed production with seed companies, and the community-led Quality Declared Seed production systems. Both are examined as strategies for economically viable and sustainable distribution and promotion of indigenous vegetable crops. The assessment is based on participatory learning, action research and outcome mapping tools. Preliminary analysis shows that on average community seed producers have a lower input cost and higher returns than contract seed growers. While seed companies operate in a dynamic business environment and have profit-oriented motives that might contravene development objectives envisaged under the proposed seed contract model, the community seed production system may also encounter challenges in identifying and establishing viable market linkages. The two farmer led seed enterprise models investigated have potential for higher income earning opportunities at both the farmer and community levels. Inaccessibility of indigenous vegetable germplasm, lack of technical know-how, institutional bottlenecks, lack of strong collaborative links between seed sector stakeholders, and the need for an enabling national seed policy and regulatory environment must be addressed to successfully implement and scale up this approach.

Isabirye B.E.,Makerere University | Isabirye B.E.,National Agricultural Research Laboratories | Isabirye B.E.,Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA | Akol A.M.,Makerere University | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Fruit Science | Year: 2016

Despite their economic importance, there is paucity of knowledge on fruit fly host status in Uganda. Therefore, this study set out to profile the host range of the main fruit fly pests and determine the susceptibility of selected fruits and mango cultivars across three main mango agro ecological zones, which included: Western Medium High Altitude Farmlands (WMHF), Lake Victoria Crescent (LVC), and the Northern Moist Farmlands (NMF) in Uganda. A wide range of fruits was sampled across the three zones. These were incubated at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories following standard protocols. Emerging fruit fly species were identified using standard keys and counted. Among the sampled fruits, 633 (35.0%) individual fruits from 15 plant families were positive for fruit fly infestation. Bactrocera invadens dominated (76.3%) of the positive samples, while infestation by native species, such as Ceratitis capitata and Ceratitis cosyra, was negligible. Annonaceae, Solanaceae, Rutaceae, and Anacardiaceae plant families recorded significantly more host species, while the number of pest fruit flies (species richness) per plant species followed a similar trend: Solanaceae > Rutaceae > Anacardiaceae. There was significant (P < 0.0001) variability in infestation among mango fruit cultivars, both within and across zones. When all zones were pooled together, Tommy Atkins and Kent, and Keitt, Kate, and Biire were the least and most infested, respectively. In conclusion, fruit flies have a diverse range of commercial and non-commercial hosts in Uganda. Strategies for fruit fly pest eradication in the country should ensure elimination or management of alternative fruit hosts and integration of tolerant mango cultivars in fruit development programs. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.

Omer R.A.,Kenyatta University | Omer R.A.,Agriculture Research Corporation ARC | Matheka J.M.,Kenyatta University | Runo S.,Kenyatta University | And 5 more authors.
Biotechnology | Year: 2012

Induction of callus from explants is a critical process in regeneration, micropropagation and transformation of plants. Formation of callus from plant tissues on culture is affected by different factors. This study sought to establish the effect of genotype, source of explants and auxin concentration on callus induction from different Sudanese maize genotypes (222F, Hudiba-1, 441, Giza-2, PR5655 and Mojtamma-45). Callus induction of the six maize varieties was investigated using mature embryos, leaf disks and shoot tips as explants and different concentrations of the auxin; 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), ranging from 0 to 10 mg L -1. The highest callus, induction frequency was observed in shoot tips while the lowest was observed in mature embryos. Leaf disks gave a higher callus induction frequency than mature embryos and lower than shoot tips. Concentrations of 2,4-D of 2 mg L -1 gave the highest callus induction for most genotypes while 0 and 10 mg L -1 gave the lowest callus induction for all the genotypes. © 2012 Asian Network for Scientific Information.

Kimani P.M.,Egerton University | Wachira F.,Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA | Cheruiyot E.K.,Egerton University | Owuoche J.,Egerton University | Kimani E.,Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Australian Journal of Crop Science | Year: 2014

Genetic diversity plays an important role in selection of parental stocks in plant breeding. Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] breeding initiatives have been constrained by lack of information on genetic diversity of cultivated accessions which would otherwise guide in the choice of heterotic parents for hybridization. This study was carried out to determine genetic diversity of sorghum accessions collected from Africa and ICRISAT using simple sequence repeats (SSR) of microsatellite marker. Thirty sorghum SSR markers were used to assess the genetic diversity of 134 sorghum accessions. The number of alleles per microsatellite locus in the 134 sorghum accessions ranged between 2 to 22, with a total of 259 different alleles having been amplified. The greatest number of alleles was found at the locus 3590e705f67911e0b58c0010185a4b14 with 22 alleles. The average Polymorphism Information Content (PIC) for all the assayed sorghum accessions was 0.55. Expected heterozygosity of population ranged between 2.91 for Sudan and 1.58 for Central Africa. Pairwise population comparisons for genetic identity were derived based on Nei's. Genetic identity of the populations ranged from 0.36 for Central Africa and Northern Africa to 0.93 between Eastern Africa and Rwanda. Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA) revealed that 75% of the molecular variation in sorghum accessions was due to within individual populations while 25% of the total variation was partitioned among populations. There was low population differentiation due to either continuous exchange of genes between sorghum populations largely by germplasm exchange or no intense selection processes. The diversity observed within sorghum accession from Sudan and East African region could be useful in improvement of sorghum for various traits.

Mungube E.O.,Kenya Agricultural Research Institute | Njarui D.M.G.,Kenya Agricultural Research Institute | Gatheru M.,Kenya Agricultural Research Institute | Kabirizi J.,National Livestock Resources Research Institute NaLIRRI | Ndikumana J.,Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2014

The dairy sub-sector in the semi-arid zones of Kenya is constrained by inadequate feeds, inappropriate breeds, inaccessibility and high cost of artificial insemination (AI) services, high incidence of animal diseases and inaccessible credit services. A study with the objective of identifying important reproductive and animal health challenges in smallholder dairy farms of semi-arid Kenya was conducted between September and December 2013. A pre-tested questionnaire was developed and administered to 73 respondents in the three study sites. The mean age of heifers at first service was 28.1±10.8 months, 25.5±9.0 months and 22.4±5.8 months in Machakos, Wote and Wamunuyu, respectively. There was significant difference (P<0.05) between mean age of heifers at first service from Wamunyu compared to those from Machakos and Wote. Artificial insemination charges per cow/insemination averaged Ksh 1620 ((USD$ 20) in the study areas. Heat detection was done by herd owners (89.2%), bulls/other cattle (1.4%) and both herd owners and cattle (9.5%). Mean calving intervals (CI) in the studied sites were 12.7±1.1, 13.7±3.0 and 14.3±3.7 months for Machakos, Wote and Wamunyu, respectively. The CI in the 3 sites were not significantly different (P>0.005). The average milk production for the lactating dairy cows in the three sites was 6 litres/cow/day. Milk productivity was negatively correlated with lactation phase stage. East Coast fever and anaplasmosis, pneumonia, mastitis, foot and mouth disease and eye conditions were reported as prevalent diseases in the study herds. Further prospective studies should be carried out to evaluate other key reproductive parameters and relationship between nutrition and infertility.

PubMed | Mount Kenya University, University of Cologne, Taita Taveta University College, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: BMJ open gastroenterology | Year: 2016

An animal model was used to study the health benefits inherent in tea fortified alcoholic beverages fed to laboratory mice.An investigation of the effects of tea fortified alcoholic beverages 12% alcohol (v/v) on antioxidant capacity and liver dysfunction indicators in white Swiss mice including packed cell volume (PCV), albumin, total protein, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and glutathione (GSH) was carried out.Plain, black, green and purple tea fortified alcohols were developed with varying tea concentrations of 1, 2 and 4g/250mL in 12% v/v. Control alcoholic beverages without teas were also developed. A permit (number IRC/13/12) was obtained for the animal research from the National Museums of Kenya, Institute of Primate Research prior to the start of the study. Alcoholic beverages were orally administered every 2days for 4weeks at 1mL per mouse, and thereafter animals were euthanised and liver and blood samples harvested for analyses. Assays on body weight (bwt), packed cell volume (PCV) albumin, total protein, ALP and GSH were performed. Results were statistically analysed using GraphPad statistical package and significant differences of means of various treatments determined.Consumption of tea fortified alcohols significantly decreased (p=0.0001) bwt at 0.32-9.58% and PCV at 5.56-22.75% for all teas. Total protein in serum and liver of mice fed on different tea fortified alcohols ranged between 6.26 and 9.24g/dL and 2.14 and 4.02g/dL, respectively. Albumin, ALP and GSH range was 0.92-2.88g/L, 314.98-473.80g/L and 17.88-28.62M, respectively. Fortification of alcoholic beverages lowered liver ALP, replenished antioxidants and increased liver albumin, improving the nutritional status of the mice.The findings demonstrate teas hepatoprotective mechanisms against alcohol-induced injury through promotion of endogenous antioxidants. The beneficial effects of tea in the fortified alcoholic beverages could be used to develop safer alcoholic beverages.

Masembe C.,Makerere University | Isabirye B.E.,Makerere University | Isabirye B.E.,Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA | Rwomushana I.,Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA | And 2 more authors.
Plant Protection Science | Year: 2016

The potential impact of future climate change on fruit fly species distribution was assessed in Uganda using two general circulation models (HADCM and CCCMA) and two future predicted CO2 emission scenarios (A2 and B2), under both full and no species dispersal modes. Future ranges were overall projected to decline by 25.4% by year 2050. Under full-dispersal, D. ciliatus > C. cosyra > B. invadens ranges were predicted to increase, while the rest are likely to decrease. In the no-dispersal scenario, a significant average decrease in size of niches is predicted. Range losses are predicted higher under B2 than A2. Future niches will likely shift to northern Uganda. The results should assist in the development of climate change adaptive pest management strategies. © 2015, Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences. All rights reserved.

Isabirye B.E.,Makerere University | Isabirye B.E.,Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA | Akol A.M.,Makerere University | Mayamba A.,National Agricultural Research Laboratories NARL | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science | Year: 2015

The species diversity of tephritid fruit flies in major mango-growing regions in Uganda was monitored over a 2-year period (2010-2012) using fruit bait and lure traps. A total of 368,332 specimens belonging to 10 species in four genera (Bactrocera, Ceratitis, Trirhithrum and Dacus) were collected. Of these, 98.9% belonged to Bactrocera invadens, while the second and third most common species were Dacus bivittatus (0.4%) and Ceratitis anonae (0.3%), respectively. Significant differences in the evenness and diversity of fruit fly species were noted across the regions. Fruit fly community structure was significantly different across the three regions. The Lake Victoria Crescent and Mbale Farmlands harboured significantly more D. ciliatus, T. coffeae, D. bivittatus and B. cucurbitae in contrast to the Northern Moist Farmlands and the Western Medium High Farmlands. Ceratitis rosa contributed the highest difference in regional structure, followed by C. fasciventris and C. cosyra. Rank abundance curves depicted a geometric series distribution of the species composition in the three regions, confirming a scenario of competitive displacement of native fruit fly species by B. invadens. A comprehensive and sustainable response strategy to B. invadens and other fruit flies needs to be urgently devised to protect the horticulture industry in Uganda. Copyright © ICIPE 2015.

PubMed | Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa ASARECA, Afri Center and Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology | Year: 2015

In 2001, the Meeting of the COMESA Ministers of Agriculture raised concerns that proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could impact significantly on trade and food security in the region. This triggered studies on a regional approach to biotechnology and biosafety policy in Eastern and Southern Africa. The studies and stakeholder consultations revealed that farm incomes would increase if they switched from conventional varieties of cotton and maize to genetically modified (GM) counterparts. Commercial risks associated with exports to GM sensitive destinations, e.g., EU were negligible. Intra-regional trade would be affected since exports of GM sensitive commodities, such as maize, cotton, and soya bean, mainly go to other African countries. These findings justified the need to consider a regional approach to biosafety and led to the drafting of a regional policy in 2009. The draft policies were discussed in regional and national workshops between 2010 and 2012 for wider ownership. The workshops involved key stakeholders including ministries of agriculture, trade, environment, national biosafety focal points, biosafety competent authorities, academia, seed traders, millers, the media, food relief agencies, the industry, civil society, competent authorities, and political opinion leaders. The COMESA Council of Ministers in February 2014 adopted the COMESA policy on biotechnology and biosafety that takes into account the sovereign right of each member state. Key provisions of the policy include recognition of the benefits and risks associated with GMOs; establishment of a regional-level biosafety risk-assessment system; national-level final decision, and capacity building assistance to member states. The policies are the first regional effort in Africa to develop a coordinated mechanism for handling biosafety issues related to GMO use. A regional approach to biotechnology and biosafety is expected to foster inter-country cooperation through the sharing of knowledge, expertise, experiences, and resources.

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