Moringa oleifera is one of the important traditional multipurpose food plants that is produced and used in many African countries. However, the production capacity is low and therefore do not meet the ever growing demand for human and animal consumption. To solve the problem, this study was initiated to assess the effect of three different soil amendments on the initial growth performance of M. oleifera seedlings. Compost, poultry manure and rice husk were the soil amendment with top soil only used as a control. The experiment was conducted at the Farming for the Future Project site in Nyankpala, Northern region. The experimental design used was completely randomized design. Daily germination record of seedlings was kept for two weeks after sowing. Also, three destructive harvesting regimes at 4, 8 and 12 weeks after germination were used to measure parameters such as stem height, stem girth, number of leaves, fresh weight and dry weight of seedlings. Generally, germination was high for all treatment especially that of the poultry manure. Analysis of variance of the various parameters during each harvesting regime showed a significant difference (p < 0.05) among soil amendments at 8 and 12 weeks after germination. There was however no significant difference among soil amendments in growth performance at 4 weeks after germination. Generally, compost performed better than the other soil amendments, while control performed the least. Sustainable production of moringa seedlings may be achieved by adopting soil amendment practices, especially the use of compost.
Key words: Moringa oleifera, multipurpose, amendments, treatment, poultry manure, compost, rice husk.
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