Global diversity of taro: conservation and use

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Global diversity of taro, a species of economic and cultural importance

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Global diversity of taro: conservation and use

  1. 1. The Global Diversity of Taro: Ethnobotany, Conservation and Use
  2. 2. Colocasia esculenta (taro)
  3. 3. Dryland taro systems
  4. 4. Wetland taro systems
  5. 5. Wetland taro systems
  6. 6. Taro is culturally and spiritually important….
  7. 7. Taro is economically important….
  8. 8. …but for millions worldwide taro is a staple food
  9. 9. Custodians: Taro has been conserved and managed by farmers for thousands of years
  10. 10. Taro is a globally distributed crop whose uses are regionally and locally specific Major growing regions: • West and Central Africa •Caribbean, Central America, Amazon •South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia •Oceania and Pacific •Areas outside centers of diversity maintain unique uses and food cultures that contribute to overall diversity of taro genepool • Farmers are able to generate desired morphological diversity from narrow genetic base
  11. 11. Diversity in corm shape of some preferred and widely grown local taro cultivars in Yunnan
  12. 12. Why research and support farmers’ management of taro?
  13. 13. Taro has been managed by farmers and rural communities and largely neglected by the international research community – it continues to be! Taro provides a model for in situ conservation of vegetatively propagated species where farmer selection and “domestication”, evolution is a continuous process. Conservation of taro genetic diversity in situ can focus on food cultures and farming systems where taro is used in all its states , wild, naturalised, and under low input or high input cultivation. Things do go wrong? How scientists can support farmers’ management of taro in times of crisis and facilitate access to the global taro gene pool Why research and support farmers’ management of taro?
  14. 14. Arrival & Impact of TLB Taro leaf blight (TLB), caused by Phytophthora colocasiae, first described from Java in 1900. Moved into Pacific region between 1920s-1940s. Most recent and devastating introduction to the Samoas in 1990s.
  15. 15. Taro improvement and utilisation Bioversity working with partners developed a complementary conservation strategy to safeguard and maintain taro genetic diversity but despite this two important challenges still remain: • Devastating problem of taro leaf blight disease as a constraint in the field still remained. How could the resistance of the crop to this disease be improved? • How could improved, resistant taro germplasm, and other taro accessions (core collection), be safely moved internationally between countries to deal with new TLB outbreaks – Africa, Caribbean?
  16. 16. Taro breeding • Bioversity working with partners established two taro breeding programmes in Samoa and Papua New Guinea (PNG). • Breeding strategy based on horizontal and durable resistance, recurrent selection, population breeding • To date, 5 disease resistant taro varieties have been released in PNG • Numerous lines of disease resistant taro lines have been evaluated by farmers in Samoa as part of a participatory plant breeding (PPB) programme and disseminated
  17. 17. Breeding activities – seedlings to nursery (6 to 7 mths from pollination to seedling distribution)
  18. 18. Taro Improvement Programme (TIP)
  19. 19. Formation of University Breeders Clubs
  20. 20. Selected progeny from cycle-3 recommended variety for export (MAFF/farmers) Variety: Samoa 3 Village road side taro market Corm yield: 1 to 2 kg
  21. 21. Selected progeny from cycle-5 export variety recommended by MAFF/farmers Variety: Samoa 2 Corm yield: 1 to 3 kg Cleaning taro for NZ market - 2010 Parental lines: Pacific x Malaysian
  22. 22. Progeny from cycle-6 (2010 selection) on-farm, farmer’s choice: good quality for export Clone #: C6-095B Parental lines: Pacific x Malaysian line Corm shape & color export quality Eating quality: excellent Yellow flesh Corm weight: 1 to 4kg
  23. 23. Selected progeny from cycle-7 Clone # C7-BC1 - 203 Yield from a 13 months old plant Corm weight: 7 kg Eating quality: very good Flesh color: yellow Parental line: Pacific x Malaysian
  24. 24. Ongoing taro research, INEA …..
  25. 25. Ongoing taro research, Mapping Edible Aroids…..
  26. 26. Acknowledgements TaroGen and TANSAO Networks University of the South Pacific (USP) Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC) International Network for Edible Aroids (INEA) Pablo Eyzaguirre, Bioversity International Peter Matthews, National Museum of Ethnology, Japan Karin Vaneker, Mapping Edible Aroids initiative

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