Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Perennial staple crops in Malawi (journal)

Ratooning and perennial staple crops in Malawi. A review

The management of staple crops as perennials is a historic legacy and a present-day strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet perenniality is rarely an agronomic subject. Farmers in Malawi cut annual crops, such as pigeonpea and sorghum, to extend production for more than one growing season. Cassava, a perennial food crop, has a proven track record of abating hunger. Here we review ratooning, a method of harvesting a crop which leaves the roots and the lower parts of the plant uncut to give the ratoon or the stubble crop. This review is completed with interviews with Malawian farmers. The management of staple crops as perennials is underserved by research. The literature and interviews indicate that pigeonpea and sorghum have high productive potential when well managed in ratoon systems.

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