Minor Root Crops Research Programme (MRCRP) is one of the seven commodity crop research programmes in the Institute. It became fully operational over a decade ago, with the responsibilities of developing technologies for the improvement of Livingstone potato (Plectranthus esculenta N.E. Br), Hausa or Frafra potato (Solenostemon rotundifolius), Polynesian arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides Kuntze) known locally as “Amora”, Turmeric (Curcuma longa L), American Yam Bean (Pachyrhizus ahipa) and other minor root crops of economic importance in Nigeria.The Institute has carried out exploratory trips with a view to collecting indigenous knowledge about the production and utilization of some minor root and tuber crops in all the 36 States of Nigeria. Data collected were used to delineate minor root and tuber crops growing areas in the country.

Goals of the Programme
The mission of the Programme, a sub-set of the overall mission of the Institute is to develop and promote the underutilized root and tuber crop species towards becoming commodity crops for food security, poverty alleviation, improved health care delivery and economic growth in Nigeria. To accomplish this goal, the research activities in the Programme have been focused more on building up the information data base through indigenous knowledge, germplasm exploration and collection, crop improvement through conventional and biotechnology techniques, development of environmentally friendly and socio-culturally acceptable production technologies.

Achievements
As an emerging Programme, the following are the achievements of the Programme.

  • Exploration and collection of local germplasms of minor root and tuber crops in Nigeria.
  • Acquisition of fifteen sugar beet accessions from USA and fourteen accessions from Germany making a total of 29 accessions of Sugar Beet collections. We also acquired 45 accessions of turmeric, 19 accessions of Hausa potato, 13 accessions of Livingstone potato and 19 accessions of Polynesian arrowroot.
  • Building of information data base on endangered root and tuber crops through indigenous knowledge from the local farmers on production, processing, marketing, and utilization to assist in the development of technological interventions.
  • Mapping of the production areas of minor root crops in Nigeria. Identification of 10 potential turmeric varieties which are undergoing accelerated multi-location trials preparatory to releasing them to farmers.
  • Domestication of Polynesian arrowroot through true seed technique. Development of cost effective, environmental friendly and socio-culturally acceptable agronomic packages for improved crop production across the main agro-ecological zones.
  • Assessment of the various endangered root crops for their bio-chemical and food values for the development of value added products.
  • Processing of Turmeric into powder form.
  • Production of Amora and processing it into starch, which is one of the best starches in the world.
  • Processing of American yam bean into several food form
  • Production of Rizga for sale.
  • Popularization and sensitization of farmers on the use turmeric is on-going in the southern part of Nigeria.

Current Research Thrusts
The following shall constitute the research thrust of the Programme in the years ahead:

   

Minor Root Crops Research Programme (MRCRP) is one of the seven commodity crop research programmes in the Institute. It became fully operational over a decade ago, with the responsibilities of developing technologies for the improvement of Livingstone potato (Plectranthus esculenta N.E. Br), Hausa or Frafra potato (Solenostemon rotundifolius), Polynesian arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides Kuntze) known locally as “Amora”, Turmeric (Curcuma longa L), American Yam Bean (Pachyrhizus ahipa) and other minor root crops of economic importance in Nigeria.The Institute has carried out exploratory trips with a view to collecting indigenous knowledge about the production and utilization of some minor root and tuber crops in all the 36 States of Nigeria. Data collected were used to delineate minor root and tuber crops growing areas in the country.

Goals of the Programme
The mission of the Programme, a sub-set of the overall mission of the Institute is to develop and promote the underutilized root and tuber crop species towards becoming commodity crops for food security, poverty alleviation, improved health care delivery and economic growth in Nigeria. To accomplish this goal, the research activities in the Programme have been focused more on building up the information data base through indigenous knowledge, germplasm exploration and collection, crop improvement through conventional and biotechnology techniques, development of environmentally friendly and socio-culturally acceptable production technologies.

Achievements
As an emerging Programme, the following are the achievements of the Programme.

Exploration and collection of local germplasms of minor root and tuber crops in Nigeria.

Acquisition of fifteen sugar beet accessions from USA and fourteen accessions from Germany making a total of 29 accessions of Sugar Beet collections. We also acquired 45 accessions of turmeric, 19 accessions of Hausa potato, 13 accessions of Livingstone potato and 19 accessions of Polynesian arrowroot.

Building of information data base on endangered root and tuber crops through indigenous knowledge from the local farmers on production, processing, marketing, and utilization to assist in the development of technological interventions.

Mapping of the production areas of minor root crops in Nigeria. Identification of 10 potential turmeric varieties which are undergoing accelerated multi-location trials preparatory to releasing them to farmers.

Domestication of Polynesian arrowroot through true seed technique. Development of cost effective, environmental friendly and socio-culturally acceptable agronomic packages for improved crop production across the main agro-ecological zones.

Assessment of the various endangered root crops for their bio-chemical and food values for the development of value added products.

Processing of Turmeric into powder form.

Production of Amora and processing it into starch, which is one of the best starches in the world.

Processing of American yam bean into several food form

Production of Rizga for sale.

Popularization and sensitization of farmers on the use turmeric is on-going in the southern part of Nigeria.


Current Research Thrusts
The following shall constitute the research thrust of the Programme in the years ahead:
1. Varietal development for good quality produce and products through germplasm collection characterization, conservation through conventional and improve breeding techniques.

2. Modification and development of cost effective and socio-culturally acceptable agronomic interventions to boost production.

3. Development of seed supply system and marketing structure.

4. Further studies on post-harvest storage, processing and value chain development.

5. Promotion of the crops through effective policy advocacy on the part of the government private enterprises and NGOs.
Collaborating Research Institutes
IITA, Ibadan, USDA, Plant Genetic Resources Center (IPK), Germany. The programme solicits for more collaboration from national and international organizations with research focus in the promotion of underutilized species with emphasis on root and tuber crops.

  1. Varietal development for good quality produce and products through germplasm collection characterization, conservation through conventional and improve breeding techniques.

2. Modification and development of cost effective and socio-culturally acceptable agronomic interventions to boost production.

3. Development of seed supply system and marketing structure.

4. Further studies on post-harvest storage, processing and value chain development.

5. Promotion of the crops through effective policy advocacy on the part of the government private enterprises and NGOs.

Collaborating Research Institutes
IITA, Ibadan, USDA, Plant Genetic Resources Center (IPK), Germany. The programme solicits for more collaboration from national and international organizations with research focus in the promotion of underutilized species with emphasis on root and tuber crops.



DR. (MRS.) CHINYERE ANIEDU
Programme Coordinator

chinyere.aniedu@nrcri.gov.ng