Effect of curing period and time of planting on growth and yield responses of pineapple (Ananas comosus) at Gojeb, Southwest Ethiopia
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Pineapple is a potential crop in Ethiopia that ensures food and nutrition security. However, the average fruit yield of the crop is nearly one-third of the global average of 63 t/ha, which is partly attributed to a lack of appropriate or optimal pineapple production technologies, such as the curing of planting materials and planting time. This study aimed to assess the effects of the curing period and planting time on the growth and yield of pineapple at Gojeb, Southwest Ethiopia. Planting materials (slips) of improved variety of pineapple (Smooth Cayenne) were cured for different weeks: control (CW0), one week (CW1), two weeks (CW2), three weeks (CW3), and four weeks (CW4) and planted at three different times: end of March (P1), end of April (P2) and end of May (P3). The experiment was laid out as a 3x5 factorial arranged in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications for two growing seasons. Data on yield and related traits were collected and analyzed. The study revealed that the time of planting and curing periods had significant effects (P<0.05) on fruit length and diameter, plant height, and fruit fresh weight. The interaction effects of planting time and curing periods also significantly affected fruit length and diameter, while the curing period affected all traits considered in this study. Time of planting also significantly (P<0.01) affected the plant height. Two weeks curing period (CW2) of pineapple slips produced a higher fresh fruit yield than cured for a more extended period. Curing the planting materials for two weeks and earlier planting of pineapples in March and April produced a higher fruit yield. Therefore, pineapple growers in the study area can achieve the highest fruit length, diameter, and fresh fruit yield by implementing two weeks of curing and early Belg
season (March and April) planting.