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New maize varieties released in Nepal

CIMMYT researchers and partners in Nepal released two new open pollinated maize varieties (OPVs) during a variety release committee meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 07 December 2008. The varieties are called Manakamana 4 and Poshilo Makai-1 and both originated in Mexico. CIMMYT is partnering with the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP), the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC), the Department of Agriculture (DoA), and several non-governmental organizations in Nepal.

Poshilo Makai-1 is the first quality protein maize (QPM) variety to be released in Nepal. “It has attractive white cobs and provides a great option to improve the nutritional quality of people and animals due to its higher content of lysine and tryptophan,” says T.P. Tiwari, agronomist, CIMMYT-Nepal. Its name is fitting: Poshili is a Nepali word meaning nutritious.

“Manakamana 4 provides a great yellow-maize option to farmers in the mid hills of Nepal because it fits well in the maize/millet, maize/potato, rice/maize, and maize/legumes cropping systems,” says Guillermo Ortiz- Ferrara, cereal breeder, CIMMYT-Nepal. The variety has a yield potential of about 6.5 tons per hectare and has stable grain yield across locations in Nepal. Manakamana 4 has also shown good lodging resistance (meaning it is less prone to falling over); tolerance to leaf diseases; and very good stay-green character.

“We are also very encouraged to see that the participatory varietal selection (PVS) farmers-assessment data was seriously considered by the variety release committee,” says Ortiz-Ferrara who feels this indicates progress made in institutionalizing such farmer participatory activities in the country. “Similar trends are also happening in the release of wheat and other crops,” he adds.

Both Tiwari and Ortiz-Ferrara express sincere thanks and congratulations to their CIMMYT-Mexico colleagues who helped develop the source germplasm for the new varieties.