Genotypic Variation in Yield and Yield Components of Plantain (Musa spp.) in Response to Containerized Planting Material and Mulching
The study was conducted to evaluate the field performance of local plantain genotypes; Apem, Oniaba, Apantu (AAB) and FHIA 21 (AAAB) suckers that were raised in containers (polybags) and their corresponding conventional suckers. Half of the containerized and conventional suckers in each plot were mulched with empty fruit bunch (EFB). Survival rate three months after transplanting was higher in containerized (100%) than conventional materials (60%) with or without mulching. Mulching increased the girth at flowering and total leaf area by 8% and 28% respectively, and reduced the number of days to flowering. Mulching also increased yield of plantain and the highest was recorded in FHIA 21. Bunch yield of container raised suckers per hectare was 19% greater than conventional suckers, due to higher survival rate after transplanting. Bunch yield among the genotypes in decreasing order was as follows, FHIA21 (20.7), Oniaba (16.9), Apem (15.9) and Apantu (13.2) tons/ha. Mulching increased the yield components such as, pulp weight, peel weight, finger weight and number of fingers. Genotypic variation in pulp yield was in the following decreasing order Apantu > FHIA 21 > Oniaba > Apem fresh weight. The pulp to peel ratio was in the following decreasing order Apantu > FHIA 21 > Apem > Oniaba. It is concluded that raising plantain suckers in polybags and applying EFB mulch is an improved production technique.