Sokoine University of Agriculture

Enhancing pollination is more effective than increased conventional agriculture inputs for improving watermelon yields

Show simple item record Sawe, T. Eldegard, K. Totland, Ø. Macrice, S. Nielsen, A. 2020-10-01T05:48:02Z 2020-10-01T05:48:02Z 2019
dc.description Ecology and Evolution, 2020;00:1–11. en_US
dc.description.abstract Agricultural practices to improve yields in small-scale farms in Africa usually focus on improving growing conditions for the crops by applying fertilizers, irrigation, and/or pesticides.This may, however, have limited effect on yield if the availability of effec-soil fertility, soil moisture, and/or pollination was limiting watermelon (Citrullus lana- tus) yields in Northern Tanzania. We subjected the experimental field to common farming practices while we treated selected plants with extrafertilizer applications, increased irrigation and/or extra pollination in a three-way factorial experiment. One week before harvest, we assessed yield from each plant, quantified as the number of mature fruits and their weights. We also assessed fruit shape since this may af- fect the market price. For the first fruit ripening on each plant, we also assessed sugar content (brix) and flesh color as measures of fruit quality for human consump- tion. Extra pollination significantly increased the probability of a plant producing a second fruit of a size the farmer could sell at the market, and also the fruit sugar content, whereas additional fertilizer applications or increased irrigation did not im- prove yields. In addition, we did not find significant effects of increased fertilizer or watering on fruit sugar, weight, or color. We concluded that, insufficient pollination is limiting watermelon yields in our experiment and we suggest that this may be a common situation in sub-Saharan Africa. It is therefore critically important that small- scale farmers understand the role of pollinators and understand their importance for agricultural production. Agricultural policies to improve yields in developing coun- tries should therefore also include measures to improve pollination services by giving education and advisory services to farmers on how to develop pollinator-friendly habitats in agricultural landscapes. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher John Wiley & Sons Ltd en_US
dc.subject Agriculture en_US
dc.subject Brix en_US
dc.subject Fertilizer en_US
dc.subject Fruit-quality en_US
dc.subject Irrigation en_US
dc.subject Pollinator-limitation en_US
dc.title Enhancing pollination is more effective than increased conventional agriculture inputs for improving watermelon yields en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.url en_US

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