Review of research in Papua New Guinea for sustainable production of taro (Colocasia esculenta). (134)
Keywords:Papuana spp., Phytophthora colocasiae, Colocasia, Taro, Crop improvement
AbstractAn overview of current research on taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott] and the prospects for taro improvement in Papua New Guinea are presented. Attempts are being made to address some of the major production constraints with a view to sustaining production. Major production constraints by biological agents include the Coleopteran insect pest Papuana spp. (taro beetle), and taro diseases, Phytophthora colocasiae and Alomae Bobone virus complex. The source of taro leaf blight and P. colocasiae resistance were identified from the national taro germplasm collection as well as from other countries and were assembled for targeted crosses. Selected genotypes with improved quality and resistance to diseases are being evaluated before distribution. A management strategy looking at the use of natural enemies, trap crops, barriers, seasonality, intercropping, and tolerant genotypes will be explored with a view to developing appropriate sustainable pest management practices. Research on the removal of other constraints to improved taro production such as soil nutrition, water management, and cropping systems (such as rotation, intercropping, plant spacing, and mixture of disease resistant and susceptible cultivars) is also reviewed.