Carrot Aid

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Projekt 5: Test af den bedste gulerodssort

[English text below]

Carrot Aid samarbejder løbende med de nationale myndigheder i Etiopien på dette testprojekt.

For øjeblikket er det kun to europæiske gulerodssorter, Nantes og Chartenay, der anvendes i Etiopien. Begge er desværre ude af stand til at producere brugbare frø indenfor en enkelt dyrkningssæson. Gulerodsdyrkningen i Etiopien har af samme grund været helt afhængig af kontinuerlig import af frø. Testprojektet fokuserer derfor på de frø-producerende gulerodssorter, der er kendt for at kunne trives under konditioner, som ligner de etiopiske, og som yderligere kan producere frø indenfor en enkelt dyrkningssæson.

For nylig er der på Haramaya Universitetet i Etiopien fremdrevet en ny gulerodssort, AUA-108, udviklet af Nantes-sorten, som kan producere frø under de lokale konditioner indenfor en enkelt dyrkningssæson. Men der eksisterer også flere andre gulerodssorter med et rigt nærings- og frø-potentiale, og her især to fra henholdsvis Tyrkiet og Afghanistan.

Yderligere var der to sorter, Long Beauty fra Indien og Deep Red fra Pakistan, som kunne være interessante. Disse to sorter er nu blevet testet af The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) under forskellige klimatiske forhold, områder og højder. Testresultaterne viste dog, at de ikke havde de ønskede rodkvaliteter, ligesom de også præsterede betydeligt dårligere end frøene fra Nantes-sorten AUA-108. Vi blev derfor enige med EIAR om at standse yderligere testning.

I stedet tester vi nu sammen med EIAR den tyrkiske (mørk lilla) og den afghanske sort (orange). Resultaterne bliver løbende kontrolleret og vurderet af eksperter fra forsøgscentrene på EIAR og Haramaya Universitetet. Det er en proces, der kommer til at strække sig over mindst et år, og hvis resultater vil være en klar forudsætning for, om de nationale myndigheder giver grønt lys for projektet og dermed tilladelse til import af de pågældende frø.


Project 5: Testing new varieties of carrot for horticulture in Ethiopia

Project status: Ongoing


1. Problem statement

Ca. 1% of children in Ethiopia suffer from vitamin-A deficiency and up to 6-8 million pre-school children are at risk, causing in extreme cases night-blindness, stunting, lethargy and raised levels of morbidity, which in turn exacerbate poverty and vulnerability. The widespread introduction of vitamin-A supplements to address this deficiency faces huge logistical barriers of reaching large numbers of people in remote areas, together with the requirement of large and continuous supplies of funding to achieve this. A possible alternative is therefore to encourage the cultivation of vitamin-A rich crops, such as the carrot, by the target population, the majority of whom are already engaged in small-scale mixed subsistence and cash-crop cultivation. The value of carrots as an important source of vitamin A is not well exploited in the country due to lack of awareness among the majority of the Ethiopian rural population.

Currently only two varieties of carrot (Nantes and Chantenay) are being commercially cultivated in Ethiopia, and both are unable to produce viable seed within a single cultivation season. Carrot cultivation in Ethiopia is therefore currently dependent on the continuous import of seed, both to the country and to rural communities, with the result that such cultivation can only be sustained through an ongoing availability of funding and seed availability. In practice this means that carrots are effectively only being grown as a cash-crop for the urban elite. The highlands of East Haragehe, Arsi, Sidama, Wolayta, Kefa, North Shewa, and East and South Tigray zones are the major producers of carrots.

Alternative varieties of carrot are therefore required which are able to produce seed in a single cultivation season under Ethiopian eco-climatic conditions, thereby allowing farmers to both grow their own seed for future seasons, but also to allow them to trade/donate excess seed to other farmers, thereby ensuring the potential spread of such seeds throughout the country.

Carrots have been known in the Ethiopian research system since the early 1960s, but received little attention in research, extension and development. Research in carrots began with eight varieties imported from Kenya and a variety trial was initiated at the College of Agriculture at the then Alemaya College of Agriculture (now Haramaya University). Among the eight varieties tested Nantes and Chantenay gave good root yields. Nantes had the best quality roots and became very popular in Haraghe. Chantenay was also well accepted (Kidane-Mariam, 1969). Furthermore, their adaptation across the various agro-ecological zones was confirmed between 1983 and 1988. Nantes and Chantenay gave a root yield of 19.6 and 21.7 t/ha in the highlands (2201 to 3000 masl), 23.2 and 24.1 t/ha in the mid-altitudes (1701 to 2200 masl), and 21.2 and 19.7 t/ha in the lowlands (500 to 1700 masl), respectively Simret (1994). Research on adaptation of new carrot varieties was discontinued until recently when two varieties (Samson  and  Strong  King)  were  introduced  from  The Netherlands and Denmark, respectively. The first variety is open pollinated while the latter one is    hybrid.    Both    varieties    were    verified    under    multi-location    adaptation    trials during the 2011 crop season and registered/recommended for production. Both varieties were high yielders with good quality of roots (MoA, 2011).  Neither Nantes, Chantenay, Samson nor Strong King could produce seeds under Ethiopian conditions.

2. Strategy

This project will focus on seed-producing carrots that are known to thrive in conditions similar to those in Ethiopia. Recently, a new carrot variety (AUA-108) that can produce seeds under local conditions has been selected from the Nantes variety and tested across different agro ecologies in the eastern Ethiopia, and was released in May 2014. There also exists diverse carrot germplasm with wide possibilities of improved nutritional and seed production potential in the centres of origin of carrots  – among which Turkey and Afghanistan are the major ones.

Based on an agreement signed in July 2012 between EIAR and Carrot Aid, Carrot Aid introduced two commercial varieties of carrot (Long Beauty and Deep Red) from India and Pakistan and ten accessions of heirloom seeds from Turkey and Afghanistan to Ethiopia in 2012 and 2013. The Pakistani and Indian commercial material was tested for adaptation under mid-and high altitude areas of the country for root production during 2013 and for seed production during 2014.

The test results showed that Long Beauty and Deep Red did not have the desired root quality despite their vigorous vegetative growth and high bolting and seed production capabilities, and performed considerably poorer than the seed bearing Nantes variety AUA-108 developed by Haramaya University. As a result, both parties agreed to defer further testing of Long Beauty and Deep Red. Instead, Carrot Aid has requested EIAR to test the adaptation of accessions with dark-purple coloured carrots from southern Turkey and Afghanistan, which may provide valuable micro-nutrients (but contain lower levels of beta-carotene). The accessions from Turkey were obtained from a farmer’s fields at their origin near Eregli, while the seeds from Afghanistan were obtained from the market in Kabul. The homogeneity of these accessions, and their ability to produce uniform progenies after production under isolated plots, is therefore not yet confirmed.

One of the objectives of the present study is to test the new purple-coloured accessions for their adaptation to major carrot producing agro-ecologies of Ethiopia and whether or not they produce homogeneous progenies in subsequent generations.

A second objective is to multiply the highly promising AUA-108 variety in order to both learn about optimal techniques for the multiplication of this carrot variety, and also to produce a sufficient quantity of these seeds for a further phase of the Carrot Project where these seeds will be distributed to selected farmers in order to initiate widespread distribution and cultivation of this carrot variety.

3. Boundaries, beyond which the investigation should not go

Trial plots should be established at the minimum number of eco-geographic locations required to be representative of all cultivated habitats in Ethiopia that are suitable for carrot horticulture.

Adaptation trials and seed multiplication should be completed by the end of 2016.

Adaptation trials are to be terminated as soon as there is any reason to believe that the on-going trial/cultivation of a new variety of carrot does not perform better than the locally released/produced variety in yield and/or quality and seed production or known to harbour harmful diseases or insects.

All trials are to adhere to Ethiopian law and government regulations.

4. Specific issues to be addressed

New carrot varieties (accessions) are to be tested to assess whether they are free from diseases and pests that might be harmful to Ethiopia’s rich flora, as well as to other crops currently under cultivation.

The suitability of the varieties for yield/quality and seed production in Ethiopia is to be assessed.

Seeds of the most promising variety – AUA-108 from Haramaya University – are to be multiplied, and the techniques for doing this are to be optimised and recorded. The optimization is to be done when the variety is used as control along with other introduced varieties

5. Desired outcomes/outputs

Activity 1. Adaptation trial of three carrot accessions

Phase 1. Seed-to-root phase – for seeds from Afghanistan and Turkey

The aim of this phase is to test if the introduced accessions from Turkey and Afghanistan could produce uniform plants and roots and resist bolting, resist/tolerate diseases and pests. Three carrot varieties (DZARC-3, DZARC-5 and DZARC-9) obtained from Afghanistan and Turkey, respectively, will be tested for their adaptation to major agro-ecologies of carrot production in Ethiopia represented by mid altitude (Debre Zeit) and high altitude (Kulumsa and Holeta). The widely used variety Nantes (Proceed, Holland) will be used as control. The trials will be laid out in RCBD with three replications. Each experimental plot will be 6 m2 (3 m x 2 m) separated by 1.5 m inter and intra plot paths. The plot size per each location will be 155 m2 (10.5 m x 14.0 m).

The spacing between rows and plants will be 25 cm and 5 cm, respectively. Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer will be applied at planting at the rate of 175 kg per ha. The plots will be irrigated and weeded as deemed necessary.

Data to be collected

Phenological data: Germination percentage, stand count, days to maturity, days to bolting and flowering (if any)

Plant vegetative growth: Bolting, uniformity, plant height, shoot vigour and shoot biomass

Root yield and components: Colour, root weight, root length, root diameter, core diameter, root to core ratio, root dry weight, root uniformity (%age single vs. multiple rooting), harvest index, shelf life

Disease and insect pests: Major diseases and insect pests

Nutritional data: Carotenoid content (precursor of Vitamin A), organoleptic taste (palatability, crunchiness)

Location: Debre Zeit, Kulumssa and Holeta

Duration:  two years (June – September)

Phase 2. Root-to seed phase – for seeds from Afghanistan and Turkey

The intent of this phase is to evaluate the seed production capabilities/potentials of the three accessions. These seeds will also serve as a source material to test the three accessions (DZARC-3, DZARC-5 and DZARC-9) for their production of roots in the subsequent phases. AUA-108, a selection developed and released by Haramaya University for its ability to produce seeds under mid and high altitude areas of eastern Ethiopia, will be used as control. Roots of each variety from the seed-to-root phase of the first season (Phase-1) will be selected for being true-to-type to the variety, uniformity, yield and quality. The roots will be planted at Debre Zeit. Each accession will be planted on 6 m2 (3 m x 2 m) in an insect proof screen-house to avoid cross pollination. Insect pollinators will be introduced to the compartments and are confined to each cage to facilitate pollination. Moreover, the accessions will be planted both at Debre Zeit and Kulumsa in open field plots of 6 m2 and 8 m2. The different accessions will be isolated at least 300 m from each other and supplemented by plant barriers to avoid cross-pollination. The varieties will be evaluated for seed yield and yield components, seed quality, uniformity (segregation), etc. If the varieties are found to be heterozygous the trial will be conducted only for one season.

The spacing between rows and plants will be 75 cm apart. Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer will be applied at planting at the rate of 175 kg per ha. The plots will be irrigated and weeded as deemed necessary.

Data to be collected

Phenological data: Time to sprouting, bolting, flowering, seed set and seed maturity

Vegetative data: Height of flower stalk

Yield and yield attributes: Percentage of bolting, number and seed yield of primary, secondary and tertiary branches/plant, uniformity, germination percentage.

Disease and insect pests: Major diseases and insect pests

Location: Debre Zeit, Kulumssa

Duration:  One year (September – April)

Phase 3. The seed-to-root phase – for seeds from Afghanistan and Turkey

This phase is intended to plant and evaluate roots that result from the seeds of the AUA-108, DZARC-3, DZARC-5 and DZARC-9 that are produced in isolation in the root-to-seed phase (Phase 2). Nantes (Proceed, Holland) and AUA-108 will be used as controls. The seeds of each accession/variety will be sawn at two sites (Debre Zeit and Kulumsa). The trials will be laid out in RCBD with three replications. Each experimental plot will be 6 m2 (3 m x 2 m) separated by 1.5 m inter plot paths. The plot size per each location will be 236 m2 (10 m x 22.5 m). The resulting roots of the accessions/varieties will be evaluated for root yield and yield components, quality, uniformity (segregation) of roots, etc. The trial will be conducted for a single season as a means of checking whether the accessions are homozygous (line) or heterozygous.

In addition, in the 2014 summer season seeds of AUA-108 produced at Debre Zeit and Kulumsa will be tested for root quality and other parameters particular to the variety; it is sought as a candidate variety for immediate extension to farmers.

The spacing, fertilization, irrigation and weeding practices will be as in Phase 1

Data to be collected

Phenological data: Germination percentage, stand count, days to maturity

Plant vegetative growth: uniformity, plant height, shoot vigour, and shoot biomass

Root yield and components: Colour, root weight, root length, root diameter, core diameter, root to core ratio, root dry weight, harvest index, shelf life,

Disease and insect pests: Major diseases and insect pests of carrot will be recorded

Nutritional data: Carotenoid content (precursor of Vitamin A), organoleptic taste (palatability, crunchiness)

Location: Debere Zeit, Kulumssa

Duration:  one year (April – August)

Activity 2. Observation of other accessions from Afghanistan and Turkey


In addition to testing the three accessions, as described above in the three phases, seven accessions obtained from Afghanistan and Turkey through collaboration with Carrot Aid will be tested under a single plot observation trial at Debre Zeit. The same practices used above will be adopted in this trial.


Seed Trial Interim report 2013

Seed Trial Interim report 2013, table of data