Simon Tutu Tsamemba, Leon Kasaka Dingbo, Joseph Adheka, Benoit Dhed’a Djailo, Rony Swennen
Plantains are a staple crop in the DR Congo. Their production is low and not perennial despite they produce suckers like other banana subgroups. This study examines the growth performance of plantain in the first growing cycle, in different cropping systems. This study was conducted during two different periods in two experimental fields at Kisangani, DR Congo, whereby the soil is or not covered. The performance was tested by burning or not the fallow residue and by growing plantain as a monocrop or in intercrop system (with groundnut and/or cocoyam). The purpose is the development of a sustainable and thus perennial cropping system for plantain under humid tropical conditions. The working hypothesis is that the very superficial and fragile root system in plantain needs continuous cover to allow water and nutrient uptake and guarantee anchorage and sucker production and therefore sustainable production. As during the first cycle this cannot be achieved by the plantain foliage, we studied the effect of soil cover by the cut fallow that is not burned or by different associated crops that cover the soil with their leaves. Plantains associated with either cocoyam or groundnut or in combination resulted in the best vegetative growth and yield. The smallest vegetative growth and yield was measured in a monoculture of plantain and with a burned residue, showing that soil cover either by fallow residue or associated crops is crucial for good growth in this potential perennial crop. At the end of these two essays, plantains associated with cocoyam or ground nut or the two crops combined resulted in good vegetative growth and better yield. The yields of plantains intercrop are significantly higher than those of plantains in monoculture, while plantains grown on both burn and no burn field have significantly improved their yields when implemented in cropping association. The smallest yields were therefore obtained in a plantain monoculture and in burning field, showing that soil cover either by fallow residue or associated crops is crucial for good growth in this potential perennial crop.
Intercropping, plantain, slashes and burn, soil cover, yield, DR Congo
Cite this paper
Simon Tutu Tsamemba, Leon Kasaka Dingbo, Joseph Adheka, Benoit Dhed’a Djailo, Rony Swennen. (2020) Growth and Yield Increases Induced by Soil Cover During the First Plantain Crop Cycle in DR Congo. International Journal of Agricultural Science, 5, 25-33