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Cotton breeding in French-speaking Africa: Milestones and prospects

Dessauw D., Hau B.. 2008. In : World Cotton Research Conference 4 : Lubbock, United-States, September 10-14, 2007. Madison : Omnipress. World Cotton Research Conference. 4, 2007-09-10/2007-09-14, Lubbock (Etats-Unis).

When cotton breeding programmes were first set up in French-speaking Africa in 1946, breeders were already taking the needs of different cotton stakeholders into account. The main breeding targets were productivity, resistance to pests and major cotton diseases, ginning outturn and fibre quality. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how breeding has enhanced the performance of African cotton subsectors through presentation of results and experimental data from multilocation trials. Briefly, breeders have focused on Gossypium hirsutum cultivars, thus giving rise to plants with a relatively long growth cycle, that are vegetative and very floriferous, with delayed boll ripening (facilitating manual harvest), with a capacity to adapt to biotic and abiotic stress conditions, and with resistance to bacteriosis. Substantial gains were achieved in terms of productivity, ginning outturn and fibre quality (length, tenacity, fineness, and colorimetry). More than 90 cotton cultivars have been bred and released over a 60-year period. Genetic progress has, however, been limited in the last decade and African breeders will have to adopt new technologies to achieve further improvement in important traits.

Mots-clés : gossypium; afrique francophone

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