|Legon 18 Chilli Pepper: An example of Research Uptake and Utilisation from the University of Ghana|
|Tuesday, 29 March 2016 09:19|
Since its inception in 1961, the University of Ghana’s Department of Crop Science has made great strides in supporting the development of agriculture and the food industry in Ghana. It has developed many new crop varieties, including pepper (Legon 18), garden eggs (Legon 1), cowpea (Legon prolific) and sweet potato (Freema) which are widely used by farmers in Ghana. The legon 18 pepper variety is a great example of the success of the Department in promoting Research Uptake.
Legon 18 chilli pepper is a pepper variety developed from a cross between a local cultivar “Capsicumannum” and another cultivar introduced from Maha, Illupalaman, in Sri Lanka. The development of the variety was in response to demands on local and export markets for a pepper variety with long slender fruits, thick pericarp, a significance level of pungency and hot flavor, uniform skin colour and extended shelf life. The research that lead to the development of the Legon 18 variety was conducted at the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana in the mid-1970s by the then Head of Department, Prof. Suppiah Sinnadurai, a plant breeder.
What Research Uptake Success looks like
The demand for a chilli pepper variety which will meet both local and export market demands was what drove the researchers at the Department of Crop Science to work so hard to develop this variety. Over the years, the Ghanaian farmers have benefitted immensely from this variety to the extent that its export has contributed significantly to the national economy. The characteristics of Legon 18 Chilli pepper are still considered the most important in developing pepper varieties to meet local and export quality. This has made Legon 18 the most cultivated variety country wide. This variety has become the single most important variety developed by university of Ghana which is grown across the country for local consumption and export. Legon 18 is well-suited to Ghanaian soil and climate conditions. The crop is designed to maintain freshness to enhance its exportability.
Under the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Compact 1 technical training programs for the Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs), Legon 18 was produced for export by local farmers and is now exported to nine countries.
How to achieve Research Uptake Success
Part of the success of the Legon 18 peppers has been the fact that it was not only useful research which contributes to overall productivity, but also because the Department has integrated research communication into its overall goal setting. Of the 12 goals it lists, six which are directly related to Research Uptake:
The department is currently working on compiling a booklet on Research Uptake, and it could prove a useful resource for other universities wanting to take an integrated approach to Research Uptake.
Mr. John Anoku is the Research Development Officer at the Office of Research, Innovation & Development, University of Ghana