Improving Physic Nut (Jatropha curcas) – a Bio-fuel and Multipurpose Crop Production in Sub-Saharan Africa through Appropriate Nursery Media
Asian Journal of Agricultural and Horticultural Research,
Physic nut (Jatropha curcas) is a bio-fuel and multipurpose crop that can be used to produce biodiesel, biogas and latex. The toxic substances – curcin and diterpenoids in raw Jatropha leaves and seeds can scare grazing animals away and this suggests the possibility of using the plant as live fence to curb cattle menace which is one of the major constraints facing crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa especially in Nigeria. Despite its nutritive, medicinal and economic values, Jatropha is one of the most neglected crops in Nigeria and in sub-Sahara Africa at large. There is often loss of vigour of Jatropha seedlings due to high seed oil content which results in rancidity and weak seedling growth. An experiment was conducted at Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo, Enugu state, Nigeria to determine the appropriate nursery media towards improving the production of Jatropha curcas in sub-Saharan Africa. Four nursery media viz: 3:2:1; 1:2:1; 0:0:1 and; 1:0:0 of top soil, organic manure and river sand respectively, were evaluated. The experiment was laid out in Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with three replications. Data on emergence percentage, seedling height, number of leaves per seedling and seedling girth were collected and analyzed using Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for CRD. The treatment means with significant differences were separated using least significant difference at 0.05 probability level. The results showed that there was no significant difference (p>0.05) among the treatments in emergence percentage of Jatropha curcas. However, there were significant differences (p<0.05) among the treatments in seedling height and stem girth with the highest values obtained in 1:2:1 of top soil, poultry droppings and river sand, respectively and the least in 0:0:1 of top soil, poultry droppings and river sand, respectively. It could be concluded that the use of 1:2:1 of top soil, organic manure and river sand, respectively significantly improved seedling growth of Jatropha curcas compared to the other treatments and could therefore be recommended for Jatropha curcas nursery for improved production of the crop in sub-Sahara Africa.
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