Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 9, Issue 3&4,2011
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Desirable models of crop production systems for circumventing bottlenecks in cultivar release and dissemination in sub-Saharan Africa


E.T. Gwata

Recieved Date: 2011-03-21, Accepted Date: 2011-10-10


Crop production systems depend largely on the availability of improved cultivars that are adapted to the stresses prevalent to the production areas. The process of developing these cultivars and releasing them for commercial production is lengthy and can take up to ten years. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), publicly supported cultivar improvement programs often encounter bottlenecks that delay the development and release of cultivars for growers. The main objectives of this paper were to assess the pertinent issues surrounding the release of crop cultivars in the publicly supported plant breeding programs in SSA and present desirable models of functional crop improvement programs and seed systems for the region. The major challenges faced by the public plant breeding sector include inadequate funding for research activities, lack of incentives for plant breeders, high rates of staff turn-over as well as insufficient experience and information on the part of plant breeders about the necessary requirements for successful release of cultivars. In addition, decision makers, who may not be plant breeders in many cases, require the pertinent information about release of cultivars. Because of the complementary relationships between the national cultivar improvement programs and their seed systems, the constraints impact negatively on the national seed systems. Consequently, the national crop production systems suffer and household food security is reduced. In order to enhance food security in the region, steps aimed at circumventing bottlenecks in cultivar release processes particularly in the public sector are necessary. The efforts require tangible and sustainable systems that reward and recognize plant breeders for their contributions to national food production and security.


Bottlenecks, cultivar improvement, plant breeder, seed systems

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2011
Volume: 9
Issue: 3&4
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 332-335

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