Assessment of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris l.) Seed quality produced under different cropping systems by smallholder farmers in eastern Ethiopia
One of the major causes of low yield of common bean in Ethiopia is the shortage and/or inaccessibility of high quality seed. In the Hararghe highlands of eastern Ethiopia, farmers often use common bean seeds produced both under sole crop and intercrop systems. This study was carried out to investigate the physical, physiological and health qualities of common bean seed produced under sole crop and intercrop systems by smallholder farmers of three districts of West Hararghe zone, Eastern Ethiopia. Samples from seed retained for 2011 main cropping season planting were collected from 100 households and tested using standard laboratory procedures. Results indicated that seeds obtained from sole crop were different from those obtained from intercrop system in physical purity and percentage of pathogen infected seeds whereas the physiological quality related characteristics were similar between the two cropping systems. With a mean pure seed proportion of above 98%, all seed samples obtained from sole and intercrop cropping systems met the national seed standard for common bean seed (95%). About 20 and 50% seed samples obtained from intercrop and sole crop, respectively, had seed moisture content below the minimum national standard for common bean seed (12%). Standard germination of seeds of both cropping systems exhibited a wide range of variation with a mean of 75 and 84% for sole crop and intercrop originated seeds, respectively. Common bacterial blight (Xanthomonas campestris pv. phaseoli) and Aspergillus flavus were the most common bacterial and fungal diseases associated with the seed samples. Higher percentage of CBB infection was found for sole seeds relative to those obtained from intercrops. It is concluded that in areas where agricultural land is limited, farmers can produce and use common bean seed of acceptable quality produced under sole and
intercropping systems provided that appropriate production and post-harvest management practices are followed.
Key words: Common bean, intercropping, seed quality