Everline Komutunga, Wilberforce
Tushemereirwe, Jerome Kubiriba, Priver Namanya, Kevin John Oratungye, David
Akodi, Choice Agaba, Elizabeth Ahumuza and Daphine Kamusingize
National Agricultural Research Laboratories-Kawanda, P.O.
Box 7065, Kampala, Uganda
Abstract: The effect of soil and water conservation (SWC)
practices on controlling surface runoff and soil loss was studied in drought
prone banana growing areas of Uganda, during the two major rainy seasons of
2014. The study was conducted at two sites— Ntungamo (Southwest) and Sembabule
(Central), with comparable slopes of about 13%-25%. The treatments included
mulch, manure, manure + mulch and a control with no conservation. Results
indicated that conservation practices of mulch and manure + mulch significantly
reduced surface runoff and soil loss by about 72%-85%, when compared to
farmers’ up-and-down cultivation practice (control). It was also observed that
significantly greater amounts of soil loss occurred from manure and control
plots than the ones with mulch. Thus, the combination of manure and mulch is
recommended for uptake by crop farmers in the study areas, if they are to
overcome drought stress and adapt to changes in climate. More research is
needed to quantify nutrient losses resulting from runoff under the different
SWC techniques. Modeling such effects is essential in assessing the impacts of
SWC practices on soil and crop productivity.
The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.
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