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Groundnut research team in Tanzania soaring to success, carrying their own crosses

Groundnuts N.Palmer CIAT-square-160With the virtual ink still wet on the very latest blogpost hot off our presses, catch some up-to-the-minute happenings on groundnut research in Tanzania today, going one-on-one in-depth Q&A with Omari Mponda. Omari is a Principal Agricultural Officer and plant breeder at Tanzania’s Agricultural Research Institute (ARI), Naliendele, and country groundnut research leader for the Tropical Legumes I (TLI) project. We learn how he and the team identified appropriate groundnut-breeding materials for Tanzania, with very good news! Says Omari: “…we have already released five varieties.”

Omari also describes the substantial capacity building investments through the years, with gains in human capacity and infrastructure improvements for his team and lab, not least including a soon-to-be-finished irrigation system. The capacity building has come to be through partnerships stemming from the GCP community, and with TLI and TLII. Omari is now looking to the future with the proposed TLIII, complemented by the Integrated Breeding Platform’s improved tools.

More specifically, Omari emphasises how newly-learnt hybridisation skills have helped him and his team carry out their own crosses, which, rather than weighing them down has given them and their breeding programme wings in the research arena.

In short, with new equipment, skills, a broad network and plenty of enthusiasm, the Tanzania team has truly taken off, and the future looks bright! More