The Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme has been conferred the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Award, bestowed by the Research Council of Zimbabwe for outstanding research. It was presented to them during the 10th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium held on 12 -13 February 2015, in the presence of national government representatives and dignitaries, and researchers from the international community.
This award was presented to the Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme in recognition of their work for the development and multi-locational testing of hundreds of hybrids over various location and seasons, and for the commercialisation of 9 varieties from 2006 to 2014.
Dr Charles Mutimaamba, Chief Research Officer and Maize Breeder at the Crop Breeding Institute of Zimbabwe, believes that the use of Breeding View, the statistical analysis component of the IBP’s Breeding Management System, was essential in conducting this work: “My team and I are sincerely appreciative of the capacity building we received from the GCP and the IBP... It played a pivotal role in wining us this prestigious award.”
Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme receives
Indeed, Dr Charles Mutimaamba received training from the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), parent programme of the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP), which he was then able to share with his teammates of the Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme. During this course, which spanned over three years, he explored how to manage, analyse and interpret breeding data with the IBP’s Breeding Management System (BMS). The BMS is a software suite designed to help breeders conduct their routine activities through all phases of their breeding programme, with Breeding View being the statistical analysis engine at the heart of the system.
According to Dr Mutimaamba, these skills became very valuable in producing variety release proposal documents, where extensive analysis of multi-year and multi-location data had to be conducted. GenStat and Breeding View were used to analyse single location, across location and across season data, to determine the genotype x environment interaction of the varieties, and to produce summary statistics and GGE and AMMI biplots for use in compiling the variety release proposal documents. “Breeding View actually took over because it’s more user-friendly”, specifies Dr Mutimaamba.
At the IBP, everyone is thrilled that the BMS is concretely assisting the Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme in their daily work and that it may have played a part in winning them this award. “The hard work Dr Mutimaamba and his teammates have put into moving their breeding programme towards success is impressive. It’s very touching for us at the IBP central team, and for the trainers involved in the Integrated Breeding Multi-Year Course (IB-MYC), to see all this work pay off and be recognised”, says Ndeye Ndack Diop, Capacity Development Manager for the IBP.