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Performance of various cassava clones in the dry savanna region of Nigeria
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Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) crop is widely known adapt to variable drought conditions. Due to the lack of adapted and high-yielding cultivars tolerant to the prevalent biotic and abiotic stresses, cassava is yet to find a wide and appropriate niche in the farming systems of the African dry savannas. Research aimed at improving adaptation to dry environments is under way. Field studies conducted at two lowland sites in the northern Guinea and Sudan savanna zones of Nigeria revealed a wide genetic variability in adaptation among African and introduced Latin American germplasm. Significant genotypic variability for stomatal response to dry weather fibrous root development, leaf stay-green ability, tuberous root yield and apparent water-use efficiency have been noted. Such variable mechanisms of adaptation associated with drought resistance are currently used as selection criteria in the IITA breeding programme to improve and sustain the cassava production in these dry savanna zones.