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 AS  Vol.7 No.9 , September 2016
Local Practices and Knowledge Associated with Date Palm Cultivation in Southeastern Niger
Abstract:
The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.), a dioecious species, is of particular interest in the Sahel due to its phenological plasticity in relation to climate change and its double-flowering capacity. This article explores local practices and knowledge associated with date palm cultivation in the oasis basins of southeastern Niger, and provides an inventory of local seed propagated varieties, for more effectively guiding agricultural research and the breeding of this species. We carried out a survey of 30 date palm growers in 14 villages of the Manga region. The qualitative data of the survey were processed by a Multiple Correspondence Analysis. We inventoried 19 date palm varieties, for which the main distinctive criterion was fruit colour, but some other criteria such as biology or provenance were also used. The cultural practices and knowledge associated with the date palm in Manga have improved since the 1990s. They also depend on ethnic groups and the importance they assign to farming compared to livestock rearing and trading activities. The type of basin (high, intermediate, or low water table) influences growers’ practices and perceptions. Lastly, the date harvest in the wet season is abundant, but of mediocre quality, whereas it is the opposite for the dry season harvest. To conclude, sustainable development of date palm cultivation in the Sahel zone relies firstly on the selection of varieties that are early fruit producers or that can complete fruit maturation during the raining season and secondly on technical capacity building for producers.
Cite this paper: Zango, O. , Rey, H. , Bakasso, Y. , Lecoustre, R. , Aberlenc, F. and Pintaud, J. (2016) Local Practices and Knowledge Associated with Date Palm Cultivation in Southeastern Niger. Agricultural Sciences, 7, 586-603. doi: 10.4236/as.2016.79056.
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