Groundnut is ranked the third most important grain legume in Africa (Diabate et. al., 2005). In the tropics, it is grown mainly by women farmers at subsistence level (Baryeh, 2001). It is a drought tolerant crop and easy-to-cultivate (Alakali and Salimelun, 2007). The economic importance of this legume crop is enormous. It serves as source of protein in the diet of a large percentage of the population in Africa, particularly to poor people who cannot afford expensive animal protein. A large number of food products are prepared from groundnuts. Groundnut may be used for preparing nutritive and tasty milk. In most areas, it is used as vegetables when the seeds are still tender.
Currently in Nigeria and Africa at large, the production rate of this crop has been on the decrease. Many factors are responsible for the decline in the production of groundnut in Nigeria. Among them are low organic matter content of the soil, poor fertility status, imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers (Akbari et. al., 2011), poor agronomic practices, pest and diseases (Obi and Ekperigin, 2001). Researchers have tried in solving these problems with the intension of increasing groundnut production in Nigeria. As a way of solving soil acidity and poor nutrient status of soils for groundnut production, use of organic manure has been advocated (Pandey et. al., 2000). Organic manure improves soil physical, chemical and biological properties and also increases the efficiency of the applied nutrients especially in light soils (Nwafor et. al., 2010; Pandey et. al., 2000).
Animal manures, when efficiently and effectively used, ensure sustainable crop productivity by immobilizing nutrients that are susceptible to leaching. Nutrients contained in manures are released more slowly and are stored for a longer time in the soil ensuring longer residual effects, improved root development and higher crop yields (Nwafor et. al. 2010). Organic manures improve soil fertility by activating soil microbial biomass. Manures provide a source of all necessary macro- and micro-nutrients in available forms, thereby improving the physical and biological properties of the soil (Opara-Nadi et. al., 2003)
1.2 Statement Of Problem
Investigation revealed that in Nigeria and most especially Nekede in Owerri West Local Government Area, Imo State, poor nutrient status of soil is a major constraint militating against groundnut production. This has hindered crop yield thereby reducing food production for the teaming human population in the region. To meet up with the food demand in the region and increase groundnut yield, there is need to boost the fertility status of the soil through application of organic manure.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The aim of the study is to investigate the Effect of Poultry Droppings and Saw Dust Ash on Growth and Yield of Groundnut (Arachis Hypogea) at Owerri, Imo State. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives were laid out as follows:
- To determine the effect of Poultry manure on the growth and yield of groundnut
- To determine the effect of saw dust ash on the growth and yield of groundnut
- To determine the effect of combination of poultry manure and saw dust ash on the growth and yield of groundnut
- To make recommendation based on the findings for groundnut production in the study area
1.4 Justification Of The Study
Food security is a major problem facing Nigeria at present. As a way of solving this problem, factors causing decline in crop production must be handled. One of such factor is poor fertility status of the soil where groundnut is grown. This problem could be ameliorated through external plant nutrient sources.
With the present diversification of Nigerian economy due to downfall in oil price through agriculture, many agricultural wastes such as poultry manure and saw dust ash are generated and their improper disposal has become a major concern to the government and the society. Utilization of these cheap and available manures are expected to boost groundnut production in Nekede and Nigeria at large.