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Abstract

The age at which dasheen corms are normally harvested, is based on a single factor such as corm age, leaf senescence, fanner experience ofthe crop in the environment in which it is grown, the demand pressures of the local. regional and extra-regional market or a combination ofthese factors. Scientific assessments of the effects of maturity on shelf 1ife, nutritional status, taste and the etTects of different agro-ecological zones on maturity have not been considered when determining time for harvest. This study uses a combination of age, traditional and scientific parameters to arrive at a more holistic and therefore more optimal time for harvesting corms. The study showed that the optimal age for harvesting dasheen corms in wet areas, where annual rainfall was approximately 5300 mrn and soil types were sandy clay loams was 10 months. In the drier areas, where annual rainfall was approximately 2400 rnm and soils were characterised as sticky clay loams without a silica pan, corms were best harvested at 9 months.

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