Indigenous multiplication and production practices of the tuber crop Plectranthus edulis in Chencha and Wolaita, Southern Ethiopia

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Abstract

Plectranthus edulis (syn. Coleus edulis) is a tuber-bearing labiate species cultivated in parts of southern Ethiopia. To learn about traditional cultural practices and their rationale, a survey was conducted among farmers from Chencha and Wolaita experienced in growing this crop. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to interview 48 family heads categorized into three wealth groups per site. Information was checked through group discussions and field observations. In Wolaita, poorer farmers cropped a larger portion of their land to P. edulis than richer farmers. Land was usually prepared for planting between January and April. In Wolaita, the crop was mostly grown in a furrow. In Chencha growing in patches and on flat land also occurred. Farmers mostly used a digging hoe for land preparation. Tuber pieces were planted about 5 cm deep. According to farmers, using tuber pieces resulted in more stems, more progeny tubers and higher yields than using whole tubers. Tubers were broken into pieces 0¿1 day before planting. Tuber pieces were planted with sprouts or after desprouting. Crops were usually fertilized with manure, but in Wolaita sometimes also with compost. Applying fertilizer was thought to give more and bigger tubers. Earthing up took place 1¿3 times (usually twice), to increase yield. Tipping was also done 1¿3 times (usually once), to increase the number of stems. Based on the survey, an overview of the practices and their rationale is compiled for use in further research into this orphan crop.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-400
JournalExperimental Agriculture
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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