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Yield potential of sandponically produced sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam) pre-basic seed for selected genotypes

Sufficient sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam) pre-basic seed at the start of the “seed” value chain is critical and often a bottleneck in the production of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa. Predominantly, pre-basic seed is multiplied in screenhouse using the conventional soil substrate method which is costly, is untenable, and achieves sub-optimal yields. The sandponics system is a better alternative for sweetpotato pre-basic seed multiplication in the screenhouse attributed to increased yields and cost-effectiveness. This experiment compared sweetpotato yield- and growth-related traits of planting materials sourced from the sandponics system with conventional soil substrate planting materials for four genotypes when grown in the field. A randomized complete block design was used with three replicates. Results showed a significant difference (p ≤ 0.05) between sources of planting materials and among genotypes for the measured traits. The interaction of source of planting materials and genotype was significant (p ≤ 0.05) for harvest index. Vine survival, storage root yield, number of storage roots per plant, and vine yield were higher by 4.1%, 24%, 27%, and 24%, respectively, in favor of planting materials sourced from the sandponics system. Sandponically multiplied planting materials showed superior performance for yield and most of the measured growth-related traits to planting materials multiplied by the conventional soil substrate method.