Does gender affect the quality of soil and vegetable amaranth under Peri-urban of Osun state, Nigeria?
Consumption of vegetables has been established to prevent cancer, hypertension and many other diseases. Cultivation of vegetables around cities is a lucrative venture and amaranth is fact becoming a leading leafy vegetable for commercial production under peri-urban in Nigeria. The system is a source of economic sustainability for many women and men. Fertilizer and water use efficiency for vegetable crops is greatly influenced by properties of the soil and knowledge of farmers. Amaranth plants samples were collected randomly from eight vegetable plots from Ile-Ife and Osogbo of Osun State, Nigeria. Soil samples were also collected directed from where plant samples were taken at 0-15 cm. Soil and plant samples were immediately transported to the Soil Testing Unit of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Farmers were interviewed on the types of fertilizers applied. Soil particle size distribution, pH, organic matter content and total nitrogen (N) were determined. Calcium, K, Na and P content of amaranth plants were also determined. Per cent sand was 63.10 and 50.00 % for soils from women and men plot, respectively. Per cent silt and clay, pH and organic matter content of soils were not significantly different. However, soil total nitrogen was 0.32% for men and 0.27% for women soils, which gave about 15.63% reduction in the value of total N for women. Amaranth vegetables from men plots contained significantly (p < 0.1) higher calcium content than that of women, whereas, phosphorus, potassium and sodium contents were not different. Potassium helps kidneys retain calcium, while a low K intake leads to increasing losses of Ca in urine. Increased vegetable consumption helps to preserve bones and fight the bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis. It was concluded that men have access to fertile soils than women. Nitrogen content of the soils was at high level. Men have better access to information and more financial resources to purchase mineral fertilizers than women. There is the need for research focusing on efficient nutrient and water use involving full participation of men and women vegetable growers for improved yield and quality of vegetable crops.
Keywords: Soil properties, men, women, amaranth quality Gender.