Okra, Abelmoschus esculentus L. (Moench), is an important fruit vegetable crop which belongs to the family Malvaceae. It is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are often consumed in small quantities in developing country. Okra is a highly nutritious underutilized fruit vegetable crop in South Africa. However, despite its importance for food, nutritional, and health benefits, the crop is rarely produced in some areas of South Africa. The study was carried out to assess the genetic diversity using agro-morphological traits and nutritional contents towards future use in the okra breeding programme. The experiment was carried out at the Roodeplaat research farm of the Agricultural Research Council in a randomized complete block design replicated three times. Agro-morphological traits and selected nutrients were determined. The analysis of variance for both showed highly significant differences for most traits recorded. The multivariate analysis showed a wide genetic diversity among the okra genotypes, which could be exploited in selecting suitable and potential parents when breeding for high yield and nutritional qualities. The present study revealed the genetic potential of the genotypes studied and their importance for use in the breeding programme aimed toward addressing malnutrition, food security, and poverty alleviation by breeding for increased yields, and nutritional contents in South Africa.
Part of the book: Rediscovery of Landraces as a Resource for the Future