|By goGreen | September 16, 2011|
People eat groundouts as fruit, or in the form of oil or as paste, sauce or flour.Groundnuts are a nourishing food. They are rich; they contain certain substances necessary for human life. They contain 200 grammes of protein per kilogramme. Millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes, yams and cassava. All contain less protein than groundnuts. Oil is made from groundnuts. This oil is much used in cooking. 100 kilogrammes of shelled groundnuts may yield 40 to 60 kilogrammes of oil.
After the oil has been taken from groundnuts, oil cake is left. Oil cake is a very nourishing food for animals.
- Groundnuts bring in money for families and workers. The farmers sell their crop on the market, or to cooperatives, or to business companies. The cooperatives and companies turn the groundnuts into oil. The oil mills in the country make a livelihood for the workers.
- Groundnuts bring money into the country. Often the country resells the groundnuts abroad. Groundnuts can be sold shelled or in the form of oil. The money paid by foreign countries for groundnuts or groundnut oil helps the government to build schools and roads, to buy manufactured goods (machines, fertilizers, clothes), and pay government officials.
- The price of ‘groundnuts is rather low In all countries. Groundnuts do not fetch a very high price. The farmer who wants to earn money must produce more on his land; he must increase the yield. Even if the price of groundnuts is not high, the farmer who produces 1000 kilograms of groundnuts will earn more than the farmer who produces only 300 kilograms. In order to increase the groundnut yield, the farmer must prepare his fields very well and carefully follow the advice of the extension worker. In this way he will get good- quality groundnuts, sold at a better price, and he will have more groundnuts.
The seeds (the nuts you sow) must be good, disinfected, and from selected varieties.
How to choose good seeds?
When you separate the seeds from the pods, that is when you shell the nuts, throw away any seeds spoiled by insects or disease, and any misshapen seeds. A misshapen seed will not grow well. If the germ of a seed has been eaten by an insect, the seed will not germinate. Shell the nuts only a few days before sowing, otherwise the seeds will be dry. Seeds must not be dry before you sow them.
- Mix the disinfectant thoroughly with the seeds, so that it covers them all. Disinfectant protects seeds against molds and insects. The disinfectant is sold by the extension services. It is usual to mix one small tomato tin full of disinfectant with 1 cask full of shelled nuts – this means mixing 2 grammes of disinfectant for use with 1 kilograms of seeds.
- Disinfectant is poisonous. Be very careful in using it Wash your hands well after touching disinfectant. Never give disinfected seeds to animals. Never leave disinfectant where children can get at it.
- Disinfected seeds are not eaten by insects. Disinfected seeds do not rot. All the seeds will grow, there will be very few plants missing. Disinfection makes for good density, and so the yield is better.
A device for disinfecting seeds
Using selected seeds
- It is not enough to choose good seeds and to disinfect them. If you want a very good harvest, you must also use seeds from selected varieties. Ask the extension services for selected seeds, for the best varieties.
Seeds from selected varieties produce better groundnuts:
- groundouts that contain more protein, and are there fore more nourishing;
- groundnuts that contain more oil, and are therefore better for the oil mills.
Selected varieties resist disease better. In the humid regions, for example, certain varieties are resistant to rosette. Selected varieties are more adaptable to climate. Some varieties ripen in 3 months; others in 5 months.
- If the rainy season is long, it is best to sow groundnuts that ripen in 5 months, long- season groundnuts. If the rainy season is short, it is best to sow groundnuts that ripen in 3 months, short- season ground outs. In places where there are two rainy seasons, it is possible to grow two crops a year – for instance, a groundnut crop first and then a cotton crop. (See diagram)
How to know whether seeds are good?
Make an experiment before sowing.
- Put 100 seeds into damp sand. To keep the sand damp, cover it with a wet cloth or wet straw. After 6 days, the seeds have germinated.
- Count how many seeds have germinated.
- If 90 seeds have germinated, the seeds are good. The germination rate is 90 out of 100 (90 percent). This is a good germination rate.
- If 40 seeds have germinated, the seeds are less good. The germination rate is 40 out of 100 (40 percent). This is a poor germination rate. In making this experiment you have made a germination test.
For a field of good density, you must sow seeds which will give you more than 85 percent of plants (85 plants growing for every 100 seeds you sow). These seeds have a good germination rate. If you have worked your field well and if it rains at the right moment, there will be few plants missing.