Farmers Trait Preferences for Desirable Cultivars: Implications for Demand-Led Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam] Varietal Development

  • S. O. Afuape
  • O. O. Abimbola
  • C. O. Alfonso
  • O. F. Kolawole
  • A. B. Adesina
Keywords: Sweetpotato, trait preferences, cultivar characteristics, Abia and Benue States


In a bid to identify trait preferences that influence the adoption of cultivars by farmers in diverse agro-ecologies, a study was conducted in the Rain Forest (Abia State) and the humid Guinea Savannah (Benue State) using structured questionnaires. The socio-economic characteristics of the respondents revealed that more females were involved in sweetpotato production in both States. However, there exists marked differences in age (more Benue sweetpotato farmers were older), educational background (Abia farmers more and better educated), and farming experience (Benue farmers more experienced). Majority of the farmers in both States shared similarities in their farm size (majority having <3.0ha) and number of cultivars planted on a farm (>1.0). However, the farmers from both agro-ecologies differed in their preferences for cultivar maturity time (99% of Benue farmers preferred early maturing, while as high as 43% preferred late maturing cultivars). For root shape, most Benue respondents preferred cylindrical root shape, while Abia farmers wanted the round shaped roots. Farmers in both States preferred the big to very big root sizes. For preference for taste and mouth-feel of boiled roots, sweet and hard roots were preferred by farmers in both agro-ecologies. Majority of Abia farmers (64%) practiced sole cropping as against 14% for Benue farmers. For those engaged in mixed cropping across both agro-ecologies, up to 5 crop-mix were practiced. Above 70% of farmers in both States also had knowledge of the sweetpotato virus disease. The study also shows the need to mainstream gender into sweetpotato breeding, especially traits such as long in-ground storability which is key for household piecemeal harvesting, and as such is more important to the female than the cash crop-focused male farmers.


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print ISSN: 0300-368X