Global Valencia Peanut Niche Market Development Program
The goal of this project was to improve genotypes and cultivars of Valencia type peanuts to fit niche markets for edible peanuts in participating countries, such as East Africa.
Valencia peanuts are a niche, in-shell, market crop that produce three or more peanuts per pod and have a sweet attribute, and were a preferred type in Uganda, but have diminished in production because of susceptibility to groundnut rosette disease and other diseases. The project has a goal to reintroduce and expand Valencia production. Genetic diversity was shown in the molecular characterization of 114 Valencia peanuts (78 accessions from the U.S. Valencia core and 35 accessions from global mini-core and one control cultivar from ICRISAT) representing various geographical regions of the world. An additional 75 accessions from ICRISAT have been screened for rosette and leaf spot resistance at Serere, in Eastern Uganda, and a few of these lines showed resistance. This genetic diversity was being used in breeding Valencia cultivars for higher yields, drought resistance and reduced diseases. A study growing 80 plant introductions from the U.S. Valencia core collection using full and limited irrigation showed eight that performed better under limited irrigation conditions, a major development in identifying drought tolerant peanut germplasm.
The newly developed breeding lines of Valencia market types are in advanced stages of evaluation prior to their evaluation in the “National Performance Trial” for release in Uganda. Seed increase of the promising lines is underway to provide enough seed stocks once either of the lines in approved for release. Efforts are also underway to combine resistance to late leaf spot and rosette virus diseases into the improved genetic background with Valencia characteristics. About 30 crosses were made involving elite Valencia cultivars from the USA and ICRISAT with local cultivars, and presently there are about 400 populations from these crosses.
New Mexico State University will release its first high oleic acid peanut cultivar “NuMex-01, which originated from a cross between “Valencia-C” and OLin from Texas A&M University. Yields were about 20% higher than the common cultivar. The oleic to linoleic acid ratio ranged from 18-25:1 compared to 1-2:1 in the control, which will provide high market value for the “NuMex-01”.