African Journal of
Plant Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Plant Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0824
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 798

Full Length Research Paper

Screening Sclerocarya birrea provenances on pests and diseases: A step towards domestication

Chicco D. M. Kayange
  • Chicco D. M. Kayange
  • Department of Land Resources Conservation, Mulanje District Agriculture Office, P. O. Box 49, Mulanje, Malawi.
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Nyirenda S. P.
  • Nyirenda S. P.
  • Department of Agricultural Research Services, Bvumbwe Research Station, P. O. Box 5748, Limbe, Malawi.
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Mhango J.
  • Mhango J.
  • Department of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Mzuzu University, P/Bag 201, Luwinga, Mzuzu 2, Malawi.
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Njera D.
  • Njera D.
  • Department of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Mzuzu University, P/Bag 201, Luwinga, Mzuzu 2, Malawi.
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Manda C. S.
  • Manda C. S.
  • Department of Environmental Affairs, Mulanje District Council, Private Bag 9 Mulanje, Malawi.
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Rudoviko M.
  • Rudoviko M.
  • Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China.
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Kaponya I.
  • Kaponya I.
  • Blantyre Agriculture Development Division, Private Bag 379, Blantyre, Malawi.
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  •  Received: 02 December 2022
  •  Accepted: 11 January 2023
  •  Published: 30 April 2023


Sclerocarya birrea is a famous wild fruit tree species which constitutes an important agro ecological system of the global ecosystem. It is one of the widely spread miombo woodland fruit trees species within sub Saharan Africa. An international provenances trial of 21 genotypes evaluated the plant phenology thus including, growth, adaptability (survival), fruit productivity and quality to select genotypes with superior traits well adapted to local conditions for domestication. This study aimed at screening provenances to pests and diseases as advancement to domestication. The provenance trial was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replicates. Each treatment was represented by 21 provenances including one bulked from Tanzania. There were 333 families assigned in each block and repeated four times. Each provenance was assigned in each row of 20 families as treatments. These provenances and families were randomly assigned to each plot and blocked. The spacing was 4 m between families and 5 m between provenances. Data was collected on infestation pressure to pests and diseases and analyzed. There were significant differences in mean infestation of defoliating and skeletonizing insect pests between provenances (P≤ 0.001). Magunde, Mangochi, Chikwawa, Marracuene and Rumphi provenances were more significantly susceptible to defoliators than the rest of provenances. The results showed that there is variation on levels of susceptibility and tolerance to diseases between provenances. Therefore, when promoting these provenances for domestication, pest and diseases management to be considered as an important selection tool hence propagate and safeguard promising elite provenances as potential genotypes for social and economic gains. 


Key words: Tolerance, elite, susceptibility, genotypes, infestation.