In the face of climate change and related stresses, farmers require planting materials free from known viruses to improve yields at farm level.
The use of clean materials of staple food crops such as sweet potato is important for vulnerable communities in the EU-ARD project sites. The crop improvement component has undertaken a series of diagnosis services on sweet potato to remove known viruses before multiplication and distribution to farmer fields.
Clean materials have been generated through tissue culture and tuber tuber sprouts.
In the Solomon Islands, a sweet potato diagnosis training was conducted for the Ministry of Agriculture, Custom Garden Association, SRO and Honiara-based project staff from August 3-7 2015.
The training, delivered by NARI scientist Myla Derus, was specifically on was specifically on diagnosis of sweet potato viruses using the NCM-ELISA kit.
Twelve participants had hands-on in identifying virus symptoms in the field, blotting and the NCM-ELISA test.
Derus said the project identified 18 sweet potato varieties from working collections in the Solomon Islands. She said the training checked for virus status for all the 18 varieties.
“If confirmed clean (negative results) through the diagnosis, the clean materials will be bulked, mass multiplied and distributed to sweet potato farmers or growers in the country,” she noted in a report.
The training was successful. Similar diagnosis were undertaken in other sites of the project where sweet potato was involved.