level of drought tolerance of the varieties available in each country is of paramount importance for breeding common bean for drought adaptation. The goal of
this study was to evaluate 25 common bean genotypes of which 24 were
released/recommended varieties for
production by farmers and one was a drought tolerant check. The
genotypes were planted at two sites in Ethiopia, Hawasssa and Amaro, using
variable sowing dates, one that was early to avoid drought and one that was
late to expose the crop to drought. The experiments were repeated over two
years in Hawassa and one year in Amaro. This resulted in treatments with high
and low total seasonal rainfall and six environments for analysis. The impact
of drought stress on the trait expression of the varieties was not uniform
across traits assessed and varieties tested. The effect of drought on
photosynthate translocation and partitioning traits was much greater than on
yield component traits in the varieties studied. This indicating less breeding
efforts has been made in improving the varieties ability to mobilize
photosynthate to the developing grain as compared to the yield component
traits. Drought tolerant varieties like Hawassa Dume maintained better
photosynthate translocation and partitioning than the drought sensitive
varieties like Brown Speckled bean. Hawassa Dume also showed better yield
stability and performed well under both drought stress and nonstress
conditions. Our results indicate the relevance of high levels of photosynthate
translocation and partitioning as an effective selection objective for
improving drought tolerance in common bean. The information generated on
the drought tolerance of the available varieties should help in the design of a
breeding strategy that incorporates adaptation traits with commercial
characteristics preferred by common bean farmers for varieties to be grown in
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