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Agronomic Potentials of Rarely Used Agroforestry Species for Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Exploratory Study

Partey, Samuel T., Thevathasan, Naresh V.
Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2013 v.44 no.11 pp. 1733-1748
Gliricidia sepium, Tithonia diversifolia, agroforestry, field experimentation, fruit yield, green manures, mineral fertilizers, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, soil fertility, Sub-Saharan Africa
Despite significant evidence that green manures from agroforestry species can improve soil fertility, green biomasses from many agroforestry species have not been sufficiently explored. In this study, we determined the suitability of green manures of Tithonia diversifolia, Gliricidia sepium, and Senna spectabilis for smallholder agriculture in Africa. Field trials were established to compare them with mineral fertilizer. The results showed that green manures of the three species were of high quality based on their macronutrient compositions. The effect of the green manures (particularly Tithonia) on both the biomass and fruit yield of okro were comparable and in some cases greater than fertilizer treatments. Total yield response in Tithonia treatment was 61% and 20% greater than the control and fertilizer treatments, respectively. In addition, the okro plants recovered a greater percentage of the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) added as green manure compared to fertilizer-treated plots, which received the greatest N, P, and K inputs.