Over 360 cowpea species including “a Minicore”, 250 Multi-parent Advanced Generation InterCross (MAGIC) and 250 Ugandan collections and crosses are being evaluated on the site.
The cowpea project is addressing the issues of cowpea pests and diseases like thrips and scab, fusarium virus, cerospora, leafspot, bacterial blight, pod borer, pod sucking bugs and others.
“We are also filling a gap in the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). We are trying to complement and be part of NARS to make it more collaborative,” he said.
Another research and demonstration field on Sorghum has been established on 5 acres of land at MUARIK where the MAGIC population of sorghum obtained from Perdue University USA and the cold-tolerant populations are under evaluation.
“The idea is that we want to see if sorghum adopted to cold can be grown in the cold areas of Uganda like Kisoro, Mt. Elgon area etc. So we are testing lines that can tolerate cold and give high yields. The programme is also testing the potential of hybrids which are popular in maize, targeting the beer industry” explained Dr. Onziga.