Evaluation and utilization of diverse genetic materials in tropical field crops

Related Research Program
Stable Food Production


Tropical field crops which are versatile in their utilization as food, feed, processed food products and industrial raw materials, are usually well adapted to local agricultural environments even under adverse conditions. They play an important role in securing the local food supply, and in safeguarding the diversity of each area’s agriculture.
    The project “Evaluation and Utilization of Diverse Genetic Materials in Tropical Field Crops (EDITS)”, is working on different types of tropical field crops to accelerate the utilization of diverse genetic materials for developing breeding materials.


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In the tropics and sub-tropics, marginal agricultural lands with limited crops’ productivity are widely distributed. To relieve the tight supply of food and energy in such regions, we aim to develop breeding techniques and resources by using sugarcane wild relatives to produce new types of sugarcane with higher biomass yield and broad adaptability to adverse environments.

  • Collaborative institute:
    Khon Kaen Field Crops Research Center (KKFCRC), Department of Agriculture, Thailand

The genus Erianthus will be utilized as a gene source to develop sugarcane with higher biomass yield and broad adaptability to adverse environment.

Photoperiod control treatment to regulate flowering for intergeneric crosses


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Yam (Dioscorea spp.) is a multi-species, vegetatively propagated tuber crop. A traditional staple food in West Africa, it plays a key role in food security and income generation. The genetics of yams is the least understood among the staple food crops due to several biological constraints and research neglect. We will develop and utilize genomic information and molecular techniques to facilitate yam breeding for improved productivity of this crop in West Africa.

  • Collaborative institute:
    International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Yam farmer’s field, Uromi, Nigeria

Yam market in Ibadan, Nigeria


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Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is an indigenous African leguminous crop. It is an important source of protein and micronutrients for the poor, and also improves the cash income of farmers. To develop high value-cowpea varieties with better nutritional contents and commercial quality to meet markets/consumers’ preferences, we will investigate genetic diversity and the effects of environmental factors to identify useful breeding materials and strategic breeding approach.

  • Collaborative institute:
    International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Cowpea ready for harvest in Kano, Nigeria

Cowpea in marketplace in Kano, Nigeria


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The JIRCAS Tropical Research Front holds a collection of tropical fruits germplasm. To utilize them, characterization and evaluation of germplasm are ongoing. Genetic diversity studies will be also conducted.

Tropical fruit germplasm maintained at the JIRCAS Tropical Research Front

Various types of Mango accessions