Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), a hugely popular staple crop in Uganda, is mostly grown at altitudes of ≤1200 meters above sea levels (ma.s.l). With Uganda’s rapid population growth i.e., increasing from 24 million in 2010, to 42 million in 2017, the desire for food sufficiency is paramount. On our part as the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) together with partners, we have initiated breeding efforts that aim at adapting cassava to highland areas. Herein, we highlight progress made during the past five years that largely has involved three systematic processes. Firstly, creation of genetic variation using cassava clones sourced from: a) International Centre of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); b) International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and c) from Tanzania breeding programme. Secondly, evaluation and selection of created genetic variation at seedling stage; of the 3,043 F1s evaluated only 570 were advanced. Thirdly, undertaking multi-advancement and selection trials; three consecutive trials undertaken in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Evidently, most of the evaluated clones were resistant to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), a key cassava production constraint. Clone performances varied markedly as witnessed by number of roots per plant (ranging from 0-15 roots), root weight per plant (ranging from 0-5.3kg) and harvest index (ranging from 0 -1), all evident after 12 months of growth. Accordingly, we have identified nine best-bet clones (UGH150024, UGH150122, UGH150135, UGH150141, UGH150149, UGH150152, UGH150310, UGH150338, and UGH150577) which are currently being evaluated jointly with farmers using the innovative “Triadic Comparisons of Technologies (TRICOT), approach. The best-two farmer-preferred clones will be officially released.
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RUFORUM Working document series