African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa) intercrop enhances the growth of micro-propagated plantain (Musa paradisiaca AAB Agbagba)
Bananas and plantains (Musa spp.) are major staple crops, providing income and food security to many small-holder households in Africa. In the large-scale production of plantains, micro-propagation methods have been used. However, growing micro-propagated plantains is challenging in nutrient-depleted soils. In this study, the early growth of hardened micro-propagated plantain (Musa paradisiaca AAB Agbagba) intercropped with three accessions (TSs-1, TSs-4, and TSs-6) of African yam bean (AYB) on the field plot was investigated. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design in four replicates. Data were collected monthly until 6 months after planting (MAP) on pseudostem height (cm), leaf length (cm), leaf area (cm2), leaf number, and pseudostem girth (mm). Micro-propagated plantain without AYB served as the control. The results at 6 MAP showed that micro-propagated plantain intercropped with AYB TSs-1, TSs-6, and TSs-4 were significantly (p<0.05) taller with heights of 38.2, 39.4, and 41.8 cm, respectively, compared with 28.0 cm in the control. AYB TSs-4 had a significant (p<0.05) effect on the average leaf length (45.8 cm) and pseudostem girth (8.2 cm) when compared to 28.1 and 7.8 cm, respectively, in the control. Also, a significant increase in the average number of leaves (6.2 to 12.4) at p<0.05 was observed for intercrop with AYB TSs-6. Therefore, intercropping micro-propagated plantain with underutilized AYB for enhancing early growth is a promising innovation.
Esuola, C.O. and Olawuyi, O.J. (2023). African yam bean (Sphenostylis stenocarpa) intercrop enhances the growth of micro-propagated plantain (Musa paradisiaca AAB Agbagba). Acta Hortic. 1367, 161-168
African yam bean, biofertilizer, climate change, Musa spp., organic agriculture