Sustainable intensification of management practices in cassava production systems of Luapula province of Zambia.

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Kaluba, Peter Kasolota
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The University of Zambia
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a staple food and a main source of income for several smallholder farmers. However, its yields are low at about 6 t/ha, lower than actual yields of 20–25 t/ha in Zambia. The main objective of the study was to assess sustainable management practices in cassava production systems among smallholder farmers in Luapula Province of Zambia. A baseline study aimed at understanding cropping management practices and their effects on selected soil nutrient adequacy levels and tuber yield was carried out. Using baseline results, a field experiment was conducted aimed at assessing the performance of cassava under lime, fertilizer and grain legume intercropping on exhausted soils. Common bean being the most intercropped légumes in cassava systems with low grain yields at 0.5 t/ha partly due to leafy defoliation, an, assessesment of the effects of leaf defoliation intensity and fertilizer on growth, RUE and yield of three common bean varieties was conducted. The data generated from these experiment was analyzed using the linear mixed models at 5% levels of significance using the R software. Multiple regression analyses was performed on significantly correlated variables. The study found K and P to be highly suitable for optimal cassava production, although yields declined by 209 and 622 kg/ha at 12 and 36 for each year of cultivation without fertilizer application. Field use in the study area was limited to 8–9 years due to soil nutrient depletion. The synergistic effect of exchangeable K on growth was limited by the low to moderate availability of soil organic carbon (SOC), Ca, Mg and low N. These limited the growth and consequently reduced intercepted radiation and low yields, thus the need for routine balanced fertilizer regimes. On average, for every kg of cassava yield loss in intercropping was compensated by 0.46 kg soybean, 0.20 kg common beans and 0.26 kg of cowpea. Cassava LAI, RUE, tuber yield and grain legume yields were significantly increased by liming, fertilizing and legume species intercropping. The use of amendements achieved cassava yields obtained between 24–36 MAP under shifting cultivation at 12 MAP. The RUE reductions were higher in fertilized than unfertilized treatments. Fertilizing indeterminant growth habit common beans enhanced growth, producing optimal grain and biomass yield at 25% defoliation intensity. To promote adoption, liming, fertilizing and legume intercropping at 25% defoliation intensity in cassava production systems should be conducted on exhausted soils in farmer‘s field
Cassava production--Management practices. , Cassava production practices.