Vanuatu Researchers Develops Drought Resistant Sweet Potation

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

New crop could reduce drought-related food shortages

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 16, 2015) – The Vanuatu Agriculture Research Center says it has a solution to the drought-related food shortages being caused by an El Nino event in the country.

The centre's Vincent Lebot says it has come up with about 50 improved varieties of sweet potatoes that can be cultivated during the dry season and in poor soil condition.

Dr Lebot says the varieties will allow farmers to yield 20 to 30 tonnes of sweet potatoes per hectare in just three to four months.

"We are generating genetically improved varities of sweet potato. Why sweet potato? Because compared to other root crops they are fairly drought tolerant and they have a very short cycle."

Vincent Lebot says the centre will supply the plants to farmers in early March.

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