Researchers deploy TRICOT on-farm participatory varietal selection technique to fast-track release of better rice varieties

Rice scientists at NaCRRI have retired a historical variety selection approach – Participatory Variety Selection and adopted the new Triadic Comparison of Technologies (TRICOT). Heavily used in cassava research, the techniques is now being scaled-out to support near-release activities of other crops such as beans, maize and rice.

In a recent sensory evaluation exercise conducted in August 2022, rice breeders subjected 3 best-bet materials to TRICOT in sessions held at Namulonge and Doho in Butaleja District. According to Samson Ojok, a Rice Breeder, 2 of the 3 candidates were selected for release. “If all goes well, two candidates from the exercise will be approved for release before end of this year,” he revealed.

The TRICOT approach, Ojok says was adopted into rice organoleptic evaluations for the first time due to its efficiency. “Learning from cassava research, we realized that the TRICOT gives higher precision in terms of selecting the best varieties for release,” he says. He adds that it is much better than participatory variety selection exercise because it is more accurate and limits bias.

The two candidates forwarded for release include one hybrid material which – if released will be the second hybrid rice variety on Uganda’s market right now. It is high-yielding (14tn/ha), early maturing and resilient to common rice diseases. The second material is a lowland variety being fronted to replace a popular market variety WITA-9 released in the early 2000s. WITA-9’s yield has severely deteriorated and is highly affected by the Rice Yellow Mottle Virus (RYMV). The proposed replacement is highly aromatic, long-grain, resistant to RYMV, is early maturing and has submergence tolerance.

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