Notes to broadcasters
Information on this subject area was requested by DCFRN Participants in Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Ponape, and Venezuela.
Presenter: George Atkins
Interviewee: Roberta Louch, Nutrition Education Training Co-ordinator, Bureau of Education, Koror, Palau, Western Caroline Islands
There are many different local names for taro (Colocasia esculenta (L. Schott)) including “old cocoyam,” dasheen, edible cole, malanga, kalo, eddo, and tuaro. If any of your farmers could grow this crop in muddy land, the information in this item is for them.
It’s the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency, Massey Ferguson, and the University of Guelph.
Through this Network, we bring you information on ways to increase food supplies for your family, or to sell—ways that other farmers have used successfully.
Today our topic is taro. Here’s George Atkins.
When I was in Palau, radio broadcaster Roberta Louch and I went out with Martha Aderiano to see how she grows taro for her family.
A long time ago, she cleared several plots in a low-lying, muddy area and that’s where she grows her taro.
But why would she take the trouble to grow her taro in low-lying, muddy land? I asked Roberta if Martha’s taro is any different than taro grown in drier soil.
When harvesting, remove the roots, scrape off most of the mud, then wash the roots and put them in a basket. In the basket, use taro leaves under, around, and on top of the taro roots to keep them from drying out too fast.
You can then take them home this way in the basket and prepare them for family use.
And how does she keep weeds from growing around her taro plants? She covers the soil with big leaves—taro leaves, banana leaves—any kind that will cover the soil and stop weeds from growing. These leaves on top of the mud also help to keep it from drying out.
There’s another thing about growing taro in wet lands like this. While a lot of people harvest it after it has been growing for 10 months, the word we have from three scientists in the Gambia and in Hawaii is that by simply letting it grow for 2 more months, their yield of taro was much higher (40% higher).
Well finally, I asked Roberta how long it is between the time Martha harvests her taro and replants for the next season.
Serving Agriculture, the Basic Industry, this is George Atkins.
Information on yield tests referred to in this item came from a paper presented in 1979 at the 5th International Symposium on Tropical Root Crops, Manila, Philippines. The paper is entitled Yield and Related Components of Flooded Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L. Schott): as affected by land preparations, planting density and planting depth, by Robert B. Kagbo, Donald L. Plucknet, and Wallace G. Sanford. http://www.istrc.org/images/Documents/Symposiums/Fifth/5th_symposium_proceedings_0059_629.pdf