Pepper (Capsicum annuum), is of the Solanaceae family, whose products are used as
vegetables and spices (Luning et al., 1995). A number of cultivated varieties are in existence in Africa including Ghana and species such as Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum annuum, and Capsicum sinensis are found (Tweneboah, 2000). These peppers comprising sweet pepper with large fruits are used as vegetables in salads. The red elongated varieties with high level of pungency such as bird’s eye chillies are also used as vegetable. Pepper may be classified as sweet, mild, or hot depending on the amount of capsaicin present(Walter, 1990). Pepper is eaten as a raw and cooked vegetable and also used commonly in making paste, pickle, and salad. Red ground pepper are made by drying and pulverising the hot pepper and is used as a spice and flavour ingredients in the food industry (Isidoro et al., 1995).Pepper has high nutritive value and is one of the vegetables consumed most by the households in Ghana (Watson,1971). As a result it is ranked high among the cultivated vegetables in Ghana. Uzo (1982) ranked chilli pepper third in importance among the cultivated vegetables in Nigeria. Howard et al. (1994) indicated that it is a good source of vitamins especially A and C which are important antioxidants. It has a wide range of medical applications, from appetite, relieving pain associated with arthritis, to diuretic
effects. (Bosland, 1994). Some pepper varieties can be grown as annuals especially the sweet pepper (Sinnadurai, 1992). Some are also shrubby perennials which grow to a height of about 1.5m tall. Pepper responds to NPK 15:15:15. However, a good dressing of animal manure before
planting is sufficient for most varieties. (Kwarteng and Towler, 1994). Depending on the variety, the pepper fruit is harvested between 70-130 days after transplanting. Pepper has a ready market locally and is all year round, especially in the dry season. Pepper has also gained an international market hence its export – potential (Norman, 1992).Togo, Ghana and Senegal export substantial quantities to Europe. In order to meet the requirements of the increasing population it has put pressure in the development of agricultural technology which has resulted in substantial increase in world food production in the last three decades (Salunke et al., 1991) although post harvest losses are also very high in fruits and vegetables with the losses ranging between 40-50% in the
tropics and sub tropics (Kwaa, 1995). In order to prolong the shelf-life and also meet the market requirements, harvesting should be done on time depending on the variety. It has been observed that cold storage slows down deterioration without predisposing the commodity to unnecessary ripening (Maalekuu, 2008). In addition to providing adequate refrigeration capacity to cool the
produce to the required temperature, provision must be made for continuous removal of field heat and respiration. Post harvest handling operations or techniques such as sorting, grading packaging and storage should be strictly practiced to meet the market requirements and also extend the shelf life of pepper.
Since enhanced soil fertility and improved environmental quality are both important goals of todays’ agriculture, deliberate efforts are required to promote the utilization of animal manures and organic residues for crop production. Locally available organic materials and animal manures which though contain low amount of macro and micro nutrients could be used as low cost sources of nutrients for vegetable crops. Soil enhancing benefits from these manures in addition to those from macro and micro nutrients are related to the organic matter that improves soil structure and moisture relations and increases mobility of P, K, and micro nutrients and stimulates microbial activities (Maerere et al., 2001, Garg and Bahla, 2008).
Few farmers that apply animal manures, lack the scientific basis for appropriate rates, timing of application, method of application and storage techniques. Furthermore, there is also a need for comparing different types of animal manures under similar field conditions for vegetable crop production. Higher crop growth, yield, greater ability to tolerate stressful conditions and product quality in relation to application of organic manures have been widely reported (Khaliq et al., 2004,
Boateng et al., 2006, Ano and Ubochi, 2007, Uwah et al., 2011). Ojeniyi and Adegboyega (2003) reported that goat manure (GM) significantly increased growth and yield of okra, amaranthus, celosia and maize in south western Nigeria. Goat Manure was also found to be an efficient source of N, P, K, Ca, Mg and organic matter for pepper production (Awodun et al., 2007). Application of GM to P-fixing soils in South Africa was reported to have reduced the sorption of added P and this
effect was largely attributed to the liming potential of GM (Gichangi and Mnkeni, 2009).
Poultry manure (PM) is an excellent organic fertilizer as it contains high N, P, K and other essential nutrients (Farhad et al., 2009). It has been reported to supply P more readily to plants than other organic sources (Garg and Bahla, 2008). Ano and Agwu (2006), Uwah et al., (2011) and Uwah et al., (2012) reported that PM increased soil pH, organic matter content, available P, exchangeable cations and micro nutrients, and decreased exchangeable Al and Fe contents and soil bulk density.Poultry manure application increased soil N levels by 53% while exchangeable cation contents also increased appreciably (Boateng et al., 2006). Soil N and P contents have been shown to increase with increasing rates of poultry, goat and dairy cow manures (Maerere et al., 2001).
Continous cultivation of the soil has robbed it of chemicals such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are vital for plant growth and are not replaced with organic and chemical fertilizers, pepper yield in Nigeria and other tropical countries is therefore limited by low soil fertility and inability of farmers to purchase inorganic fertilizers due to its scarcity and cost (Tanko, 2000). The long term use of inorganic fertilizer where affordable has been implicated in soil acidification, loss of organic carbon, nutrient imbalance and deficiency of secondary and micronutrients (Ojeniyi, 1981) Adediran and Banjoko, 2003; Osundare, 2004. The trend among the resource poor farmers in the region is therefore the use of organic waste known to increase soil pH, improve soil nutrient (Joann et al. 2000; Ano and Agwu, 2005; Ewulo, 2005) and physical properties, especially those from livestock industry that have been found available in large quantity in the tropics (Nweyiuba and Chimezie, 2000).
Recommendations in respect of different organic manures rate for pepper based on research are scarce, there is also the scarcity of organized research on agronomic requirement of pepper especially in Nigeria. In the light of the need to identify research into use of organic manures in pepper production and evolve suitable application rates for different agroecological zone of Nigeria, this study will be carried out on the comparative effect of cow dung (CD) treatment, poultry manur(PM) treatment and goat manure (GM) treatment on soil and plant nutrients composition, growth and yield of pepper in south west Nigeria.
The main objective of the project is to assess the comparative effectiveness of animal manures on soil chemical properties, yield and growth of different pepper types.
1.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
The specific objectives are:
1. To compare the effect of the animal manures on the growth and yield of the different pepper types.
2. To determine the effects of the manure on the soil chemical properties
- To determine the effects of the manure on the nutritional content of the different pepper types.
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
According to Bosland and Votava (2000) pepper production is on the increase and may be an important source of vitamins for the world population. Salunke et al. (1991) reported that postharvest losses are very high in the fruit and vegetable sector as a result of their high moisture level. Farmers produce enough pepper but as a result of inadequate postharvest technology to extend the shelf life of peppers, their incomes are reduced when losses are incurred. It is in the light of these that this research was being carried out to assess the production and postharvest handling of pepper which will help to extend the shelf life of pepper in general.
It has been reported that increase in demand of pepper has resulted in expanding production both upland and lowland areas. Crop yield increment is only possible through external use of organic and inorganic fertilizer because soils in Nigeria are generally low in fertility.