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              Groundnuts                         Sesame                       Bambara nuts                    Pigeonpeas


Oilseeds are important component of smallholder agriculture.  They contribute to farmers’ income also to human and animal diets.  The major oilseeds grown in Tanzania are sesame, groundnuts, sunflower and castor bean. Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute is the national centre for coordination of sesame and groundnuts research in Tanzania. Under Oilseeds Research Programme at the institute conducts research on grain legumes of importance in the southern zone. These are pigeon peas and Bambara groundnuts.
 The research on oilseeds and grain legumes addresses four main areas: Breeding, agronomy crop protection and technology dissemination.

1. Breeding

i) Oilseeds


The breeding Research on oilseeds has been going on since the period prior to independence.  In the early 1950s, a research programme with a main emphasis on groundnut breeding was established at Nachingwea and Kongwa to support the then Overseas Food Corporation (OFC) groundnut scheme.  This led to recommendation of groundnut varieties Natal Common and Red Mwitunde, plus a package of agronomic practices.  Following the collapse of the OFC in late 1950, a breeding programme on sesame and soybeans was begun at Nachingwea from 1957 – 1963.  This work led to recommendation and release of sesame varieties Morada – 2, SSBS 4 and SSBS 7.
Although research on oilseeds had been going on for a long time, it was inconsistent and lacked cohesion.  However, activities conducted and recommendations made (i.e. improved varieties and agronomic practices) made a foundation for the Oilseeds Research Project, which was incepted in 1978 following a bilateral agreement between the Governments of Tanzania and the United Kingdom.  In the early 1980s, commodity research programmes in the country were begun and Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute became the co-ordinating centre for Oilseeds Research Programme (ORP).


The ORP has been operating within the framework of the following main objectives:


1. To identify and develop high yield varieties adapted to the main growing areas of southern Tanzania.                                 They should have desirable attributes such as tolerance to insect pests and diseases of major economic                             importance.
2. To develop the best cultural practices for different varieties of oilseeds.
3. To identify the major insect pests and diseases of economic importance and develop suitable control                       measures. 
4. To investigate the role of oilseeds in farmers' traditional systems and develop recommendations to                            improve productivity of these systems.

Current research achievements and recommendations


Breeding objectives for groundnuts include high yield potential, high oil content >40% high shelling percentage, resistant to drought and aflatoxin contamination, high oleic/linoleic ratio, good kernel quality and resistance to pests and diseases. The breeding programme for sesame concentrates on development of high yielding varieties, resistance to diseases especially leaf sport diseases caused by cercoseptoria sesami  and bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas campetris, high oil content > 52%. As for Bambara groundnuts the breeding objectives are high grain yield >1000 kg/ha, resistance to fussarium wilt, early maturity and increased drought resistance. With regard to pigeon peas the emphasis is to develop medium duration pigeon peas with resistance to fussarium wilt to provide higher and stable yields. The programme develops varieties for dry and vegetable pigeon peas purposes.

Good quality varieties; farmer and market preferred varieties recommended.


i) Pendo 98

Released in 1998. Spanish variety maturing in 90-100 days , escapes drought because of short growing season and it is ideal for drier areas, yields 1500 kg/ha, Its soft pods makes easy shelling, has bold seeds, oil content 48% , sprouts if harvesting is delayed. The colour of the seed is tan.

ii) Mnanje 2009

Released in 2009. Virginia variety maturing in 100-110 days from germination, Yield 1.5-1.8 T/ha.  Produces large kernels that are red in colour, oil content 51%, does not sprout if harvesting is delayed

iii) Mangaka 2009

Released in 2009. Spanish variety maturing in 90-100 days after germination, can yield up to 1.5-1.8 T/ha, produces soft and smooth pods that are easier to shell, pods contain 2-3 kernels per pod, oil content 43%, seed colour tan. The low oil content makes it good for peanut butter.

iv) Masasi 2009

Released in 2009. Virginia variety that does not sprout with delayed harvesting. The variety is resistant to rosette and other foliar diseases, seed yield is over 1.5 tonnes per hectare, high oil content >50%, matures in 110 days from germination

v) Nachingwea 2009

Released in 2009, Virginia variety maturing in 110-120 days after germination, big red seeds, the variety is resistant to rosette. Yield over 1.5 T/ha, does not sprout and ideal in high rainfall areas.

vi) Naliendele 2009

Released in 2009, erect bunch, early maturing Spanish variety maturing in 90 days, drought resistant, tolerant to rosette disease and can yield over 1000 kg/ha.

Other groundnut varieties

Nyota – Released in 1983. Spanish early maturing variety ( 90 days), erect bunch, high oil content 50%

Johari- Released in 1985. Virginia medium maturing variety (115 days)

Sawia-98 – Released in 1998. Virginia variety, medium maturing (115 days)


i) Naliendele-92

Released in 1992. Early maturing variety 100-105 days after germination. Compact branching with long capsules with 4 locules (bicarpellate), tolerant to leaf spots; cercoseptoria sesame, oil content 52%, seed colour is white. Yield 1.2 T/ha.

ii) Ziada-94

Released in 1994. Medium maturing (120-130 days), high oil content 58%, produces many branches hence can be intercropped with other crops for example maize and sorghum, tolerant to leaf spot and stem rot diseases, medium capsules that produces bold white seeds. Ideal for high rainfall growing areas, yield 1000 kg/ha.

iii) Zawadi-94  


Released in 1994. Medium maturing 115 days, cream seeds, capsules turns purple in colour at maturity. Tolerant to leaf spot diseases. Yield 1t/ha.

iv) Lindi 2002

This is the most popular variety in Tanzania, it is an early maturing variety 100-110 days after seedling emergence. Yield 1.5-2t/ha, white seed colour,long capsules with 4-6 locules, tolerant to leaf spot diseases. Oil content 55%. Grow in pure stand for high yield

V) Mtwara 2009

Released in 2009, Matures in 110-115 days, high yielding 1.5 T/ha. Tolerant to leaf spot diseases, seeds chocolate in colour, oil content 53%. It has high oil extraction rate than other varieties i.e. oil comes easily during extraction. 





i) NalBam 3-2013

Early maturing variety 100 days, pods white turns brown at maturity, bold seeds, high protein content 27%, high zinc content 44.1 mg/kg. Yield up to 2T/Ha cream seeds with white eye surrounded by brown colour, the colour of the seeds is yellow.

ii) NalBam 4-2013

Early maturing (100-110 days), seeds with white eye surrounded by red colour, seed colour is light yellow. Pods are red in colour when fresh turns red-blackish when dry. Yield 1.5 t/ha, high iron content 39.9 mg/kg.

iii) NalBam 6-2013

Early maturing 100-105 days, red pods and red seeds with white eye,    ideal for eating fresh, high oil 6%, yield 1.5 T/ha.

iv) TanBam 2013

Medium maturing 110-115, yield 1.5 t/ha, cream bold seeds with white eye.



Three varieties identified for the southern zone ICEAP 00557, ICEAP 00554, ICEAP 00540 -   medium maturing, white/cream seeds, tolerant to fusarium wilt and insect pests, yield 2.5 -3 t/ha. The breeding programme has also identified for vegetable purpose are ICP 7035 and ICP 14998 the varieties combine traits of large seeded and sweetness.




a) Groundnuts


Agronomic trials conducted to date have recommended a spacing of 50 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants. Seed rate 80- 100 kg/ha.  On acid soils liming is important, Phosphorus fertilizers at a rate 40 kg/ha P2O5 i.e.2 bags of Miniingu Rock Phosphate (Minjingu mazao) per acre. Planting in December-January for areas with monomodal type of rainfall. Areas with two rainfall seasons, (vuli and masika-bimodal) groundnuts can be planted in both rains.  For vuli planting is September-October and masika planting in February-March. During drought stress earthing or making tied ridges is important for soil moisture conservation for aflatoxin mitigation, similarly liming during flowering and is one way of reducing chances of aflatoxin contamination in the groundnut field.

b) Sesame

Recommended spacing for sesame is 50 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants that is achieved after thinning at 3-4 weeks. Similarly sesame can be planted in hills spaced at 30 cm and row spacing of 50 cm. at hills sesame seedlings should be thinned living only three plans per hill. Apply nitrogen fertilizer after thinning 45 kg N per Ha which about 1 bag of urea per acre.  To control insect pests such as sesame flea beetle apply insecticide karate 5mls/litre of water.  Currently farmers use herbicides to control weeds in sesame production. Most commonly used herbicides are Weedall, Agrosate 480 actual rates of application and how to use manufacturer’s recommendations.

c) Bambara groundnuts

The recommended spacing for bambara is 60 cm between rows and 10 cm between plants. Seed rate 75-80 kg/ha.  Depending on maturity period of the variety earth up bambara plants at podding stage which is At 75-90 days after seedling emergence.

d) Pigeon peas

Recommended spacing is 75 cm between rows and 30cm between plants in pure stand and 90 cm between rows and 30cm between for intercropping with maize or sorghum. For good results apply DAP fertilizer or Minjingu mazao fertilizer. At flowering spray with insecticide Karate at a rate of 5 mls/litre of water to control insect pests. 

Research sites

The Oilseeds and grain legumes research programmes evaluates the varieties across the country in seven testing sites which represent the major agro-ecological conditions of Tanzania. The testing is done in collaboration with sister research stations under the Department of Research and Development in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives. The testing sites Agricultural Research Institute Naliendele, Substation Nachingwea, CDC Tunduru, ARI Ilonga in Morogoro, ARI Makutupora in Dodoma, ARI Tumbi, in Tabora, ARI Ukiriguru in Mwanza, ARI Uyole in Mbeya and ARI Selian in Arusha .

On-farm Research trial sites and technology dissemination

Research conducted at the on-station sites is verified on-farm by farmers. Successful preferred options both by farmers and market are then recommended for further up-scaling and wide adoption after release in the case of crop varieties.  In the southern zone we conduct participatory variety selection for all mandate crops (sesame, groundnuts, Bambara groundnuts, pigeon peas) to enable farmers to select varieties of their preference; in this case researchers learn from farmers priorities and decision making criteria for the choice of varieties and technologies that is tested. This approach increases the chances of varieties and technologies being adopted by farmers, market and the consumers in general. In the southern zone on-farm trial sites are located in all districts. Demonstrations, farmer field days and seed fairs, media, leaflets, posters, booklets are widely used to disseminate the technologies.

Leaf lets

1. Kilimo bora cha karanga “Improved Groundnut Farming” (2014). Taasisi ya utafiti wa Kilimo na             
Maendeleo Naliendele (Leaflet)

2. Kilimo bora cha Ufuta “Improved Sesame Farming” (2014). Taasisi ya utafiti wa kilimo na Maendeleo Naliendele (Leaflet)
3. Kilimo bora cha Njugumawe “Improved Bambara groundnut Farming” (2014). Taasisi ya utafiti wa kilimo na Maendeleo Naliendele (Leaflet)


1. Tajirika na ufuta (2014)
2. Epuka sumu kuvu (Aflatoxin) katika karanga (2014)
3. Dhibiti vibaruti (Sesame flea beetle) ili uvune zaidi ufuta (2014)
4. Ongeza mavuno na kipato chako kwa mbegu bora za karanga (2014)
5. Boresha afya yako kwa kulima na kula njugu mawe (2014)


1. Jinsi ya kuzalisha Mbegu bora za karanga (2008)
2. Kilimo bora cha Karanga (2008)
3. Kilimo bora cha Ufuta (2008)

Seed multiplication sites and seed sources

Breeder seed multiplication is done at Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute and its substations Nachingwea and CDC-Tunduru. While Basic seed production is the responsibility of Agricultural Seed Agency located in Morogoro. Further multiplication to certified seed production is done by Agricultural Seed Agency and interested seed companies in the country. At ward level Farmer groups multiply recommended varieties under Quality declared seed grade QDS from certified seeds. QDS seed production for sesame, groundnuts, Bambara groundnuts, pigeon peas in southern Tanzania is widely promoted in southern Tanzania Masasi, Nanyumbu, Tunduru, Ruangwa and Nachingwea. Groundnuts QDS production also takes place in Chamwino, Bahi, Kahama and Bukombe Districts in the central and lake zone.



The Oilseeds and Grain legumes is manned by ten (10) research scientists and 3 field officers as follows:   

Research scientists

1.   Dr. Omari Mponda                       Principal Plant Breeder and Lead Scientist

2.   Philipo Mashamba                       Agricultural Research Officer - Breeder

3.   Juma Mfaume                               Agricultural Research Officer - Breeder

4.   Happy Daudi                                Agricultural Research Officer-Breeder

5.   Gerald Alex                                  Agricultural research Officer – Agricultural economist

6.   Athanas Minja                               Agricultural research Officer – Breeder

7.   Aloyce Kundy                              Agricultural Research Officer – Breeder

8. Joseph Nzunda                                Agricultural Research officers –Agronomist


Field Officers

1.       Charles Mkandawile                 Principal Agricultural Field Officer

2.       David Ndolelwa                       Agricultural field officer

3.       Emmanuel Sonda                       Agricultural Field Officer



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