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Vanuatu DARD carries out research on sweet potatoes

Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is conducting research on different varieties of sweet potato at the Tagabe farm in Port Vila.

Sweet potato is a crop that has a short life cycle of three to four months before harvesting unlike taro, yam and manioc that need eight to ten months.

“Scientists are doing many research work on sweet potato to ensure in the future, with a high population, food security is maintained,” said Dr Vincent Lebot, the Scientist working with the Ministry of Agriculture.

“One priority is to cross pollinate the types of sweet potato that already exists to produce new hybrids and also to upgrade the potential of sweet potato.”

Dr Lebo said the research work intends to find out the new hybrid that will produce more and also sweet potatoes that does not have high sugar.

“The research work takes a lot of time because we have to do cross-pollination, produce many hybrids, germination of seeds, planting of new hybrids and making evaluations.

“We are doing a lot of cross pollination to access many seeds, planting of new hybrids, selecting hybrids and the process keeps on going, so it takes a lot of time but at the end of the research work, we aim to find out good varieties of sweet potato and field days are organized to invite local farmers to come into the farm and select which type of sweet potatoes they want,” said Dr Lebot.

Farmers will be able to plant sweet potato when they have access to cuttings of new hybrids of the sweet potato.

“The result of a farmer from Eton, will be different from that of a farmer from Mangaliliu because of the nature of their soil.

“Local farmers should plant more new hybrids to identify which type of sweet potato is favourable in their soil and climate.”

A lot of research work is done on sweet potato and also on manioc, yam and taro at the Vanuatu Agriculture Research and Training Centre, on Santo.

“A lot of research work is also done at the Agriculture Tagabe farm on Efate because of the big population of people living here,” Dr Lebot said.


Photo supplied Caption: Harvested sweet potatoes. Loop Vanuatu
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