Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) is a staple food that contributes to food security for communities in sub-Saharan Africa. The production of sweet potato in coastal Kenya is low and this has been associated with shortage of planting material during the rainy season. A study was therefore conducted at the Pwani University farm to assess the production of sweet potato planting material using cuttings planted under different methods. The methods that were evaluated in this study were: Planting in pits without lining, planting in pits with lining, planting on ground surface, planting in sacks without lining and planting in sacks with lining. A randomized complete block design was used, with factorial arrangement of treatments. Fifteen treatments were replicated in three blocks. In the long rains season, sweet potato in the treatments without lining produced longer vines than those with lining. Different vine planting methods produced similar vine lengths in the off-season multiplication. The planting methods without lining are recommended for use by farmers during the long rains season multiplication of planting material. It is also recommended that farmers start the multiplication during off-season and continue during the long rains season so as to multiply enough planting material that will allow expansion of the area under sweet potato.
Key words: Food security, Ipomoea batatas, low production of sweet potato, off-season multiplication, vine planting methods.
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