The conventional planting material for ginger has been the rhizome pieces obtained by splitting the fat ginger knobs into desirable seed ginger called "setts." The size of the setts ranges in various studies from 3 to 9, 5 to 10, 20 to 40 g and up to 70 to 80 g (Evenson et al., 1978; Paulose, 1973; Whiley, 1974;1980; Okwuowulu, 1988, 1992b; Melifonwu and Orkwor, 1990). Rodriquez (1971) reported the use of rhizome pieces 2 to 3 cm long, whereas Furutani et al. (1985) worked with setts measuring 2.5 to 5 cm long for field crop production. Nadgauda (1980) and Balachandran et al. (1990) used smaller sett weights, with dimensions of 8 to 10 mm being adequate for micropropagation studies. The proven optimum sett weight to grow, therefore, depends on the type of study.
The effect of sett size and weight on plant growth and yield responses are of interest and so far only partially discussed; for instance, by Whiley (1981) and Okwuowulu (1988a, 1992b, 1994). There is a need to relate the comparative seed rhizome rates estimated on a weight basis to the rhizome pieces in physical dimensions (centimeters) and to ascertain the relative yield differences for using a similar quantity of seed ginger. A greater critical need is to use the relationship to establish the optimum seed ginger to grow for various purposes. Furthermore, there are discrepancies about the relative seed rates adopted at equal sett weights and approximate intrarows within the same interrow spacing; the range being 1 to 1.5 t/ha (Prentice, 1957; Paulose, 1973; Menon, 1992). Further study is needed in this area. Little has been documented on dormancy—normally 6 weeks—and other plant factors.
Many ginger types exist under cultivation. They differ in characteristics varying in rhizome shape and quality and other inherent characteristics. Parry (1969) indicated different types of African ginger that possess strong pungency and aroma. A typical example is the black ginger; Yatsun biri of Nigeria. The Indian or Cochin ginger, generally of pale yellow to light brown, has a strong aromatic taste; while the Jamaica ginger, similar to the Brazilian ginger cv. Rio de Janeiro, possesses a somewhat high pungency but weak aroma. The bold yellow ginger, Taffin-giwa of Nigeria, is of this type.
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