Cassava farmer Quang Binh, Vietnam. Photo: Georgina Smith/CIAT
ADOPTION IN VIETNAM
An innovative study of cassava diversity in farmer fields, supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas, revealed that 90% of the cassava grown in Vietnam involves improved varieties developed using germplasm from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
The use of DNA fingerprinting dramatically increased the precision of the crop adoption surveys, providing valuable insights into which varieties are preferred by farmers, and in which regions. This allows researchers to better tailor future breeding programs and interventions.
More than 3,700 samples of cassava planting material were collected from 82 farming communities scattered across Vietnam’s main cassava production regions. DNA analysis revealed that the majority were improved varieties related to CIAT germplasm, and just two varieties – KM94 and KM419 – cover almost 70% of the country’s cassava farming area. Developed by a breeding program in partnership with CIAT and several Vietnamese institutions, KM419 was chosen using participatory varietal selection and released in 2013. Scientists attribute the rapid adoption of the variety to its high yield and starch content, adaptability and short growing cycle. DNA fingerprinting has great potential for improving adoption assessments and the conservation of crop diversity, among other applications.