Agro-Morphological Characterization of Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) Cultivars from Chad
Cassava is a considerable source of food and income for the rural community of the south of Chad. Despite the importance of the diversity of cultivars in situ, their morphological traits and agronomic performance are under investigated. The aim of this study is to characterize and analyze the variability structure of the cassava’s germplasm. Fifty nine cultivars collected from five main cassava growing regions, were evaluated by forty five agro-morphological descriptors in a Fisher design replicated three times. Data were collected at three, six, nine and twelve months after planting. High phenotypic variability was shown within the collection for the color of apical leaf, vein leaf, petiole, roots and pulp. The same case was observed for the root peduncle, the shape of the central leaflet and the root, the cortex root thickness and the texture of root epidermis. Significant to highly significant differences were observed for all the quantitative traits. High variability were shown for the size of the leaf lobe, petiole length, plant height, root number and length, harvest index, aboveground biomass and fresh root weight. Positive correlations were found between the leaflet and leaf lobe number. Fresh root weight was also positively correlated to the root number, length and diameter. Principal component analysis (PCA) on quantitative variable revealed four groups with two of them containing performant cultivars: Group II with small root, high potential yield but less leaflet and leaf lobe and group III characterized by some cultivars with high productivity, more leaflet and leaf lobe, more and bigger roots. At regional level, significant differences were shown within cultivars which were discriminated in relation to their origin region by the number of the leaf lobes. The better cultivars and the interesting traits could be used to improve cassava production in Chad.