Drought stress is a major factor decreasing cotton productivity in Malawi. To identify drought tolerant cultivars, a study was conducted in 2012 at Bunda College to evaluate the performance of 20 cotton genotypes under water stress conditions. A screen house pot experiment was carried out using a randomized complete block design and data were recorded on tap root length, lateral root number, fresh root weight, dry root weight, fresh shoot weight, dry shoot weight, shoot length, root volume, number of leaves per plant, and stem diameter. Results revealed significant differences among genotypes for response to drought stress. Six genotypes (06K485, 06K486, SPAN 837, FQMA (05) 5 bcp, Chureza, and RASAM 17) showed drought tolerance. The inclusion of these genotypes as parents in the drought tolerance breeding programme can have a significant impact to minimize the adverse effects of drought on cotton in Malawi.
Key words: Cotton, genotypes, water stress, growth, productivity traits.
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