Vol 9, No 2

Table of Contents

Articles

Combining Tree-Crop Farming: Mimicking Farmers’ Mixed Cropping and Land Fallowing Practices in Developing Sustainable Farmland Management System PDF
Z.J.U. Malley, W.N. Mmari, M.K. Mzimbiri
Growing population and climate changes exerts pressure on land productivity and forest resources. Emerging unsustainable practices such as shortened period of traditional smallholders’ natural fallows, exploitative cultivation and extension of farms through opening new farmlands and harvesting of natural forests for fuel wood are threats to productivity and environment. This necessitates development of sustainable production and environmental management solutions. Tree and shrubs were grown for two seasons in association with maize to mimic traditional farmers’ mixed cropping and land fallowing in south western Tanzania, which significantly increased soil fertility with concomitant doubling of maize yield and reducing households’ drudgery through increasing accessibility to firewood. Trees, Acacia mearnsii and Calliandra calothyrsus provided on average 20t/ha and 10t/ha of fuel wood biomass sufficient for over 590 and 330 days requirement of a rural household, respectively. These trees were liked by households as fuel wood for their heating strength, smokiness, charcoal and smelling on burning. The results mean that scaling up and out in the local landscapes of trees-crops culture would substantially increase farmland productivity, while eliminating harvesting pressure on natural forests. Trees and shrubs wood biomass and crop residues are promising economic resources in development of small electric power plants in rural areas.

Biomass Consumption in Nigeria: Trends and Policy Issues PDF
Suleiman Saad, Idris M Bugaje
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the demand for and policy implications of consumption of biomass energy in Nigeria.  Analysing the demand for biomass energy is important if these sources of energy are to be used efficiently and on a sustainable basis. The result shows that the biomass energy surpasses all other forms of energy in Nigeria during the last four decades despite Nigeria being a major producer of commercial energy globally.   The study reveals that biomass played an important role as a source of energy in all the six geopolitical the regions as well as both rural and urban households and this would likely to remain so in the near future.  Although the importance of biomass was declining in relative terms, in absolute terms its use appears to be increasing; suggesting there is high level of energy poverty in Nigeria. Factors identified as responsible for such phenomenon include poverty, inaccessibility to alternative energy sources and cultural factors.  A correlation analysis conducted shows a highly positive relationship between biomass consumption and poverty levels as well as highly negative correlations between incomes and biomass consumption in all the six geopolitical regions in Nigeria. There is also regional bias in the consumption of biomass. A major conclusion drawn from the study is that due to health, environmental and socioeconomic consequences of biomass energy consumption, there is a need for deliberate policies to enhance efficiency and sustainability of biomass energy in Nigeria and make clean commercial energy more accessible and relatively cheaper.

Roles of biochar produced from animal and plant wastes on okra (Abelmoschus esculenta) growth in Umudike area of Abia State, Nigeria PDF
M.I. Onwuka, B.C. Nwangwu
In Abia State Nigeria with emphasis on Umudike area, lots of agricultural wastes are being generated. It is against this backdrop that a pot trial was conducted at the experimental field of College of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, with the aim of investigating the effect of biochar produced from different animal and plant wastes on growth and yield of okra plant. The treatments were a control (without biochar) and biochar produced from animal wastes sources namely; Bone waste, Cow dung, Goat droppings, Pig waste and Poultry droppings. Others were produced from plant wastes sources namely; Cocoa pod, Palm bunch, Saw dust, Rice mill husk, Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) and Wood shaving. The treatments were applied at the rate of 3t/ha (whose equivalent was 86g) to 10kg of soil weighed into pots and replicated 4 times in a Completely Randomized Design. The test crop was okra (Abelmoschus esculenta) and the effects of the treatments were determined on its top biomass dry matter yield, number of leaves, the height, stem girth  at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks after planting. Biochar produced from poultry manure feedstock significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased the plant height at eight weeks after planting among the animal feedstock biochar. It gave a value of 50.68cm over that of the control which was 25.8cm. Among the plant feedstocks biochar, the application of Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) significantly (p≤0.05) increased the plant top biomass dry matter yield with a value of 8.1g/pot as compared to the control value of 4.4g/pot. The top biomass dry matter significantly (p≤0.05) and correlated positively with number of leaves and plant height. The result showed that among the animal feedstock and plant feedstock biochar, poultry manure and Ukpo shell (Mucuna Flagellipes) respectively improved most of the plant parameters measured.  Further research investigation in the field with the treatments is recommended.

Competitiveness of Beef Cattle Production Systems in Nigeria: A Policy Analysis Approach PDF
Cecilia Nwigwe, Victor Okoruwa, Kemisola Adenegan, Adeola Olajide
This study assesses the competitiveness and comparative advantage of the major beef cattle production systems in Nigeria, using the policy analysis matrix (PAM) on a sample of 339 farmers. Results of the PAM revealed that all the production systems are competitive, given their level of technology, input and output prices. The financial cost benefit ratio (FCBR) of less than one revealed that financial profit (FP) was maintained in all the production systems; however, the ranching system was the most competitive in terms of FP as well as the FCBR, which was found to be 0.064. Social profitability (SP), domestic resource cost (DRC) and social cost benefit ratio (SCBR) of less than one also suggest that Nigeria has comparative advantage in producing beef cattle within the three production systems. Sensitivity analyses showed that a 20 percent increase in freight on board (FOB) and a 20 percent depreciation of the domestic currency will increase competitiveness and comparative advantage of beef cattle production in all the production systems. The study recommends that government should ensure a level of policy stability in the beef cattle sector and also encourage the ranching system when production is targeted at improving national income.

Isolation and Characterization of Soft Rot pathogen of Yam (Dioscorea spp) in Nigeria-A Review PDF
O.K. Akinbo, E U. Opara, A.I. Ikoro
Yam (Dioscorea spp) is a tuber crop belonging to the family Dioscoreaceae. The species of economic importance include Dioscorea rotundata, Dioscorea alata, Dioscorea cayenensis, Dioscorea dumetorum, Dioscorea bulbifera and Dioscorea esculentus. In West Africa, Dioscorea rotundata is also refered to as white yam or white guinea yam. It is the most widely cultivated. It is the most important food and income source for millions of producers, processors and consumers in West Africa. A pathogen or infectious agent is a biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host and it can infect unicellular organisms from all of the biological kingdoms. In the oldest and broadest sense, it is anything that can produce disease, a term which came into use in the 1880s ("Pathogen". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House ; Casadevall, Arturo; Pirofski, Liise-anne 2014). It is used to describe an infectious agent like the following: virus, bacterium, prion, fungus, viroid, or parasite that causes disease in its host. The host may be a human, an animal, a plant, a fungus, or even another micro-organism (Alberts B et al., 2002; MetaPathogen, 2015). There are different types of pathogens which include the following: Bacterial, Viral, Fungal, Prionic Protozoa, Viroids and Human Parasite. Isolation It is defined as the complete separation from others of a person or plant suffering from contagious or infectious disease; quarantine. It is very damaging, and there is no way to ameliorate it and isolation of pathogen is the process whereby pathogens of yam are treated. This is the process where rotted yam tubers were rinsed in distilled water, surface sterilized with 70% ethanol and cut open with a sterilized knife and it is now treated.

Potency of Plant Ashes as Organic Feretilizers in the Performance and Control of Leaf Spot Disease of Telfairia occidentalis in South Eastern Nigeria PDF
Inemesit Ndarake Bassey, Emma Umunna Opara
An investigation was conducted in the Research and Training Farm of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria to investigate the effect of plant organic ashes on the control of leaf spot disease of Telfaria occidentalis and on its yield performance. The experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD), with three replicates and six treatments (plantain peel ash, oil palm kernel bunch ash, sawdust, firewood ash mancozeb (synthetic pesticide) and a non treated control. The results showed that all the plant ashes treatments used significantly reduced the leaf spot disease of Telfaria occidentalis (P0.05) when compared with the non treated control. Plantain peel ash for instance showed lowest number of mean disease severity (0.25) and all the parameters measured, significantly (P0.05) suppressed leaf spot incidence (20.07%) and also enhanced yield over other treatments including control (4.544). This investigation suggests the practical use of plant waste ashes especially plantain peel (ash) in the control of leaf spot disease and enhancement of the performance of fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis).



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