African baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) is an agroforestry species with high potential in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa. Pulp and leaves of baobab are the two key harvested products which highly contribute to farmers, especially women income and households food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Overexploitation of these products, combined with the low natural regeneration of the species, threatens the survival of the remaining populations of the African baobab. Among sustainable alternatives for conservation is the domestication/cultivation of the species for its leaves and fruits. This study focused on the cultivation of baobab seedlings for their leaves. It :(a) assessed baobab seedlings [a1] growth response, [a2] leaves biomass response, and [a3] roots’ growth and biomass responses to variation of dose of compost - poultry dropping - cow dung, sowing density, and leaves harvesting frequency. Agricultural experimentations were used for assessing baobab seedlings growth, leaves biomass and root growth and biomass in two biogeographical zones of Benin (Guineo-Congolese and Sudano-Guinean zones). Data of the experimentation (number of germinated seeds, of leaves, branches and rootlets, total height and basal diameter of the seedlings, fresh and dry weights of harvested leaves, of tap root and rootlets, Index of leaf area and total length and basal diameter of tap root and rootlets) were analyzed using linear and generalized linear mixed effects models. From our field experimentation producing A. digitata seedlings with 300 kg/100 m2 of poultry dropping or 900 kg/100 m2 of cow dung with 20 × 20 cm sowing density and monthly harvests yielded the optimum growth of seedlings, roots and its biomass and 15 × 15 cm for leaves biomass production. The average leaves biomass production was 41.62 ± 1.16 kg of dry matter per 100 m2 (equivalent to 157.29 ± 4.38 kg of fresh leaves per 100 m2). We suggested that further studies (i) assess profitability of baobab fresh leaves production, (ii) identify the potentials pests and the effective pest control approaches, (iii) evaluate on the anti-nutritional properties of harvested leaves as the plant respond to stress due to frequent harvesting, (iv) assess on the protection methods of baobab seedlings against the adventitious plants, and (v) assess chemicals components of baobab seedlings roots for its probable use in food and medicine.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
RUFORUM (Grant No. RU 2015 GRG-135)
Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo; Valère Salako; Rodrigue Idohou