Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 307–320 | Cite as

Assessment of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) diversity, loss of landraces and farmers preference criteria in southern Benin using farmers’ participatory approach

  • A. P. Agre
  • R. Bhattacharjee
  • A. Dansi
  • L. A. Becerra Lopez-Lavalle
  • M. Dansi
  • A. Sanni
Research Article


Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is one of the highly produced and consumed food crops in Benin Republic. Through the application of participatory research appraisal tools and techniques, such as direct observations, group discussions and field visit, cassava production constraints, the diversity at the community level and farmers’ varieties preference criteria were assessed in southern Benin. Base on national statistic cassava production fifty five (55) villages were selected and surveyed in the southern Benin. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data collected. About 11 constraints were listed by farmers, and the most important were low productivity, low post-maturity underground storage capacity of the roots of some cultivars, viral disease (cassava mosaic disease), susceptibility to high soil moisture, and lack of early maturing cultivars, which together accounted for 68.02 % of the total responses. Additionally, a total of 125 existing landraces were recorded. The distribution and extent pattern revealed 59 elites cultivars (cultivated by many households and on large areas) that were further grouped into 23 categories based on their agronomic, technological and culinary characteristics. In most of the villages, the farmers’ perception of cultivar loss was based on abandonment of some cultivars due to their poor agronomic (69.12 % of responses) and culinary and/or technological attributes (30.88 % of responses). Within the existing diversity, cultivar choice or preferences are based on 22 culinary, technological, agronomic and economic criteria and their importance vary across the different department. Among these criteria, the most important were high productivity, good quality of the gari, early maturity and good friability accounted together for 48.12 % of the total responses. The presence of duplicates or synonyms was also observed and it is suggested that both morphological and molecular characterization and classification be carried out for better identification of cultivars.


Benin Cassava Diversity Manihot esculenta Preference criteria Production constraints 



The authors are grateful to UEMOA (Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa) for the financial support of this project. We thank Mr Alaba O. and Unachukwu N. (IITA) for technical assistance and anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and constructive criticism. We express our gratitude to the cassava farmers of southern Benin for providing support and useful information during interviews and sharing their cultivars.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. P. Agre
    • 1
  • R. Bhattacharjee
    • 2
  • A. Dansi
    • 1
  • L. A. Becerra Lopez-Lavalle
    • 3
  • M. Dansi
    • 1
  • A. Sanni
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biotechnology, Genetic Resources, Plant and Animal Breeding (BIORAVE), Faculty of Sciences and Technology of DassaPolytechnic University of AbomeyDassa-ZoumèBenin
  2. 2.International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)IbadanNigeria
  3. 3.Centre International of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)CaliColombia
  4. 4.Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FAST)University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC)CotonouBenin

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