Effect of tunnel screen on rate of sweetpotato vine multiplication for increased food production and income

Sweetpotato serves as human food, animal feed and industrial raw material in the production of sugar syrups, ethanol and flour for confectionaries. It produces more food energy per unit area and unit time than any other major food crop and has higher protein, vitamin and mineral contents compared to cassava. However, sweetpotato has a class of need and this is the survivability and availability of planting materials. It is harvested after a period of about 4-5 months and planting materials must be available for the next growing season, which can be 5-7 months later, especially in those sub-Saharan African regions with extended drought period. Most farmers are losing 4-6 weeks of the growing period at the beginning of the rainy season while they re-establish sufficient vine production for planting, obtaining initial limited planting material from residual plants, re-sprouting roots, or secondary growth of harvested fields, limiting sweetpotato production areas. Low tunnel screen covered structure was used to assess vine production rate in three (3) harvests of Apomuden and Ogyefo, compared with opened raised beds, as control, in a randomised complete block design experiment with 3 replications in SARI‘s experimental fields. Apomuden recorded the highest average vine lengths of 81.6 and 59.6 cm under tunnel cover and on opened beds, at 6 WAP, 65.2 and 64.6 cm the harvest at 11WAP, and 81.3 and 65.7 cm long at 16 WAP, respectively. On the contrary, the opened bed or control bed produced higher vine cuttings than the tunnel covered beds, with Ogyefo recording the highest average cuttings of 421 plantable vines and Apomuden recording an average of 408 plantable vines per 2m2 area. However, the difference in number of transplantable vine cutting yield was not statistically significant. Transplantable cuttings on opened beds for Apomuden and Ogyefo were higher compared to under tunnel cover at 6, 11 and 16 WAP, respectively; contrary to the highest vine lengths recorded under tunnel cover condition.

Citation: Acheremu, K.; Saaka, J.; Carey, E.; Chamba, E.B.; Bidzakin, J.K. 2013. Effect of tunnel screen on rate of sweetpotato vine multiplication for increased food production and income. In: Nyongesa, M.; Wasilva, L.; Low, J.; Wanjohi, L.(Comps.) Transforming potato and sweetpotato value chains for food and nutrition security: Book of abstracts. 9. Triennial Congress of the African Potato Association. Naivasha (Kenya). 30 Jun - 9 Jul 2013. (Kenya). African Potato Association (APA); Makerere University; Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI); National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK); International Potato Center (CIP).
Sub-Saharan Africa