DEVELOPMENT OF IMPROVED CULTIVARS OF TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD AND FOOD SECURITY
Telfairia occidentalis Hook. f. is an important multipurpose indigenous leafy vegetable in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. The usage of this crop is gaining more attention and levels of production are on the increase, primarily because its cultivation and processing provide household food security, income and employment for producers and marketers. However, scarcity of improved seeds of this crop during the planting seasons and demand from different parts of the country have consistently raised the price of the leaves and fruits. During the dry season production of this crop, intensive trade develops in fadama areas for sale to urban areas where major food-crop markets develop. In Nigeria, apart from its dietary and industrial uses, recent reports indicate that Telfairia occidentalis may be used in bioremediation of heavy-metal-polluted soils. Despite the importance of Telfairia occidentalis as an indigenous leafy vegetable, the distribution of available genetic materials and their characteristics are not well documented, hence their limitation in breeding programmes. Also, there is limited information on nutrition and food safety issues. Incentives for enhancing Telfairia occidentalis production are limited by the dispersed and small-holder nature of the production. The problem of low yield of vegetables and pods per unit area planted, pests and diseases, recalcitrant nature of the seeds and poor storage of the pods beyond about 5 months after physiological maturity are key areas that were researched at the National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan in Nigeria. The present study was conducted to determine the influence of assisted pollination and unassisted pollination in enhancing Telfairia occidentalis pod set and development. Eight accessions of Telfairia occidentalis were selected and evaluated for pod production under assisted pollination and unassisted pollination in 2009. The result showed that assisted pollination enhanced the development of number of pods set (3.82) against 1.82 (unassisted or open pollinated) per female plant after fertilization of the ovules. Telfairia occidentalis is dioecious in nature but from the study carried out more male plants (50.01%) than female plants (39.77%) were observed with 10.22% of the plants not expressing their gender. Also male plants initiate flower buds earlier (99.44 days) than female plants (117.84 days) after planting. Pod size index varied significantly from one genotype to another with a mean of 1.75 and mean seed weight of 12.65 g.
Adetula, O.A. and Chikaleke, V.A. (2013). DEVELOPMENT OF IMPROVED CULTIVARS OF TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS FOR IMPROVED LIVELIHOOD AND FOOD SECURITY. Acta Hortic. 1007, 665-670
recalcitrant, physiological, dioecious, pollination, fertilization