Francis Kusi (PhD)
NATIONAL COLLABORATION: MoFA, CRI, NGOs, PGRRI University of Ghana Legon, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University for Development
Studies, University of Cape Coast
INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION: University of California, Kirkhouse Trust, University of Virginia (Mike’s Lab), Legume Innovation Lab, FtF Climate Resilient, IITA,
ISRA-Senegal. INERA-Burkina Faso,
(Key areas of research) Insert a brief write-up of research undertaken. Include collaborating institutions)
Host plant resistance is one of the key areas I concentrate as a Scientist; I collect and screen germplasm for resistance to major insect pests of the major crops of the savanna zone of Ghana. This has led to the identification of cowpea aphid resistant genotype and with the support of Kirkhouse Trust DNA marker associated with the aphid resistance gene has been identified and have been used in marker-assisted backcrossing to improve the field resistance of five elite cowpea genotypes in Ghana. Kirkhouse Trust is currently supporting SARI in field evaluation of these improved genotypes for release as varieties and is prepared to support their promotion for adoption. In collaboration with the pathology team root rot resistant and susceptible cowpea lines have been identified and both Kirkhouse Trust and University of California—Riverside have shown interest to support our efforts to use modern molecular tools to introgress the root rot gene into the susceptible elite cowpea varieties in Ghana
In collaboration with University of California—Riverside through Legume Innovation Lab and FtF Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient, I’m leading a research activities at SARI to search for sources of resistance to major cowpea pests, diseases, drought and heat such as aphid, Thrips, PSBs, Striga, root rot disease, drought and heat. Sources of resistance and susceptible hosts have been identified for aphids, Thrips, Striga, root rot, drought, and heat. Prior to this 44 breeding lines from which the search for sources of resistance is being conducted were SNP genotyped to identify polymorphic SNP markers among the genotypes for future use in marker-assisted selection. Crosses at various levels have been made between the resistant and the susceptible parents to be genotyped on the SNP platform. Training of AEAs, Field staff of NGOs and Technicians from CSIR-SARI in insect pest identification and their management strategies is one of my activities as Research Scientists. With support from WAAPP 1A, I have developed IPM strategies to manage fields and storage pests of yam to extend its shelf life. I also improved the traditional yam storage structures to eliminate rodent and mealy bug infestation which can now be used to store yam for 7 or more months. L also train Technicians and Research Scientist in molecular techniques.
TECHNOLOGIES/INNOVATIONS DEVELOPED AND MAKING IMPACT ON LIVES AT VARIOUS SOCIETAL OR SOCIAL LEVEL
I developed and out-scaled Integrated Management strategies to extend shelf-life of yam from 3 months to 7 months or more.
I developed and out-scaled Integrated Pests Management Strategies to manage pests and diseases of onion, pepper, and tomato under irrigation.
I identified cowpea genotype resistant to cowpea aphid (SARC1-57-2) which has become one of the important cowpea breeding material for Breeders in developing aphid resistance cowpea varieties and it is also being used to improve the field resistance of commercial varieties to cowpea aphid.
I identified DNA marker that is tightly linked with aphid resistance locus and is currently being used in marker-assisted backcrossing to improve the field resistance of Zaayura (one of the commercial cowpea varieties of CSIR-SARI) to cowpea aphid
IMPACT OF RESEARCH ON COMMUNITIES
The aphid resistant cowpea genotyped is now being used in cowpea breeding programs in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria and California-Riverside develop aphid-resistant varieties to improve cowpea production in the major cowpea growing communities.
In Ghana, Crops Research Institute and the University of Cape Coast are also using in heir cowpea improvement programs.
The improved traditional yam storage structure has enabled the farmers to keep their yam tubers and setts up to 7 months to wait for good prices and this has resulted in increased income and livelihood.
The integrated management strategies introduced to farmers to manage field and storage pests has also resulted in increased production, income and improved livelihood.
The IPM technologies developed over the years to manage vegetables under irrigation has also improved the management efficiencies of the farmers and this has resulted in increased productivity and income.
Training in of AEAs, field staff of NGO and FBOs in Farmer Field Business school has resulted in improving management practices in cowpea, soybean, Groundnut and other field crops.
Young Scientists, Technicians, and postgraduate students have been given opportunities to be trained in abroad and on my projects to increase their skills and knowledge and this has impacted positively in efficiency and effectiveness in which they discharge their duties.