PLANTATION AND INDUSTRIAL CROPS NDA -
COLLEGE OF AGRIC AND CONSUMER SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF
Principles of Plantation and industrial Crop Cultivation
Life Cycle of Plantation and Industrial Crops
Plantation and industrial crops may be classified on the basis of the life cycle of the crop. The life cycle of a
crop plant is the stages of growth through which it perpetuates itself from the seed to the mature plant. The
major stages in the life cycle are the seed, the processes of germination leading to the production of a
seedling, the mature plant, flowering, fruiting seed formation.
On the basis of time duration to complete the life cycle, plantation and industrial crops may be classified as
annuals, semi- perennials and perennials.
These crops complete their life cycle in one growing season lasting from 3-12 months. Examples are:.
A. Maize (Zea mays) (cereal) which is now used for bio-diesel
B. Groundnut (Arachis hypogea) (grain legumes) from which cooking oil is extracted
C. Soy bean (Glycine max) (grain legume) which is used to produce cooking oil
D. Cassava (Manihot esculentum) (Root and Tuber) is used to produce industrial
E. Cotton ( Gossipyum spp.)(Fiber plant)is used to produce fiber for the textile
F. Tobacco ( Nicotiana tabaccum) (drug Plant) is a source of nicotine
Mistake in one growing season can be corrected during the following season.
These crops complete their life cycle in two to three years. Plants in this group are generally vegetatively
propagated. New plantation can be restarted from ratoon crop of the old plantation. Semi-perennial crops
A. The sugarcane (Sacharum spp) which is used to produce sugar
B. Pineapple ( Ananas comosus) which is eaten fresh or canned as juice
C. Plantain and banana (Musa spp) which are eaten fresh or cooked.
These crops complete their life cycle after many years. They may never die. They are generally trees crops.
The perennials include:
A. Cocoa ( Theobroma cacao) from which cocoa butter is extracted for the manufacture of chocolate.
B. Coffee (Coffea spp) Seeds of coffee plants contain caffeine and are brewed into a stimulating and
C. Oil Palm (Elaes guineensis) Palm oil and palm kernel oils are extracted from the seeds for the
manufacture of soap, margarine and now bio-diesel.
D. The Coconut palm (Cocos nucefera). Oil is extracted from copra, the dried endosperm for the
manufacture of soap.
E. Citrus (Citrus spp). Juice from the fruit is canned.
F. Rubber (Hevea brasilliensis) Latex from the bark is processed into rubber products including lorry tyres.
G. Cola (Cola nitida) Seeds are eaten as masticatory. Coca Cola drink is made from dried kolanuts.
H. The shea butter tree. Shea butter is obtained from the seeds and used in pharmaceutical products.
Special Characters (features) of Perennials.
Dormancy of seeds: Seeds of perennial crops may have varying levels of dormancy. There is no general
rule to predict the level of dormancy of seeds of tree crops Special conditions may be required to induce
uniform germination as occurs in oil palm and kola. Fresh seeds of citrus, cocoa, coffee, and rubber
germinate readily without pretreatment to induce germination. Viability of the seeds of these perennials
may be lost few weeks after harvesting.
(2) Seedling growth: Seedlings of tree crops are slow growing and may re requishade in the early stages.
Eg. Oil palm, cocoa, mango and citrus. Shade requirement may vary from cultivar to cultivar in the same
(3) Gestation period: This is the interval from seedling to adult stage when flowers begin to form. This
period may last from 3 to 8 years depending on the genotype of the tree.
(4) The growth pattern: The growth pattern of perennials may change after the end of the gestation period
(vegetative growth period).
The seedling growth pattern is orthotropic (Vertical)
The adult growth pattern may be orthotropic or plagiotropic( Horizontal)
(5) Reproduction: Flowers, fruits and seeds of perennials are formed after the gestation period.
(6) Growth pattern after gestation period: After flower formation, reproductive growth alternates with
vegetative growth. Reproductive growth period is called the season and during the season, fruits are
(7) Yield Pattern
As a general rule, yields are very low at the onset of the reproductive period.
Yield rises to a peak after 8 – 10 years: Yields stabilize for sometime and decline after 20 years. After
the peak yield period is attained, one year of very high yield may alternates with two or three years of
low yield. It may be necessary to replant the plantation after 20 to 25 years
General Principles for Ensuring High Yield and Sustainable Production in
The general principles for ensuring high yield and sustainable production in plantation crops include the
1. Choice of planting materials
2. Raising of planting materials in the nursery
3. Site or location of plantation
4. Land preparation
5. Time of establishment and spacing
6. Cultural practices such as manuring, pruning, disease and pest control and
7. Integration with livestock production
Choice of Planting Material
Planting materials of tree crops are either vegetatively propagated materials or F1 hybrid seeds.
Vegetatively propagated planting materials:
Superior mother plant in terms of yield, quality, resistance to diseases and, earliness and ease
establishment is required to produce vegetatively propagated planting materials. Methods of vegetative
propagation include budding, grafting, rooting of cuttings, and tissue culture. Each tree crop has a
particular or several vegetative propagation methods which may be most suitable to produce large
numbers of planting materials for plantation establishment.
Rubber, citrus, plantains and bananas are examples of perennials or semi perennials which are established
from vegetative propagation. For citrus, the use of vegetatively propagated planting materials by
budding for establishing plantations results in plants which are short, early bearing, thornless and true
to type in comparison with those established from seeds.
.A number of viral and fungal diseases are transmitted through vegetative propagation.
As a general rule, mature trees over 8-10 years old should be selected for vegetative propagation because:
1. Their vegetative buds have the stimulus to flower. This is the reason for early
floweing in vegetatively propagated planting materials.
2. Symptoms of obscure pathogens in perennials become apparent after 6 to 8 years.
Diseased plants become visible and thus can be avoided
3. Trees generally reach peak production at this period. High yielding trees can be
identified and selected
F1 hybrid is the progeny of 2 parents.
Hybrids seeds are used when crossing two parents produces progenies which are exceptionally vigorous,
early maturing, high yielding and disease resistant. Examples of perennial tree crops which are
established from F1 hybrid seeds include cocoa and oil palm. It is important to note that the F2 seeds
produced from the F1 plantation are not true to type and must never be used to establish a new
Raising of planting materials of tree crops
Because of the initial shade requirements of tree crops, and sometimes specialized seed treatments to induce
germination, and the need for vegetative propagation, planting materials of tree crops are raised in the
Nursery is a place where large numbers of young seedlings are given plenty of care, and conditioned before
transplanting to the field at the right time and at the right spacing when field conditions will permit
successful establishment of the seedlings.
For vegetatively propagated crops, the nursery allows for vegetative propagation methods (budding and
grafting) to be carried out.
In tree crops, early seedling vigor is positively correlated with ease of establishment, precocity and yield.
Nursery allows for selection of vigorous seedlings to be transplanted in the field at the right time and at the
Establishment of tree crop nursery
The nursery should be sighted on well drained upland areas, near a permanent source of water for irrigation
(Borehole, rain harvesting, permanent rivers are sources of water for irrigating nurseries).: Irrigation
methods usually employed in nurseries include drip, sprinkler and hand irrigation.
Shade is needed for young seedlings. The type of shade provided in the nursery may be temporal or
permanent. Palm frond shed is a suitable temporal shade. Fast growing leguminous trees such as Leucena,
Gliricidia, Spondix spp. are suitable permanent shade.
Types of nursery:
Ground nursery or polybag nursery may be used to raise planting materials in the nursery.
In ground nursery seedlings raised on beds. A major disadvantage with a ground nursery is that uprooting of
seedlings results in damage to roots leading to transplanting shock.
To overcome this transplanting shock problem, we now use the polybag nursery.
In the polybag nursery, potting mixture consisting of two parts of top soil and one part of river sand is used
to fill polybags. The size of the polybag used depends on the size of the seedling. Polybag sizes 8”x9” or
7”x10” are used for citrus, mango and cocoa.
Size14”x12” is used for oil palm
Time period for polybag nursery
At least six months is required to raise planting materials of F1 seeds by polybag nursery
One year is required to produce vegetatively propagated planting materials. Vegetative propagation methods
are most successful during the dry season. Therefore:
Rootstocks are raised in May/June,
Budding or grafting is done from December to March.
Field planting is done in May, June, July when rains stabilize.
Climatic Factors Affecting the Production of Perennial Crops
Apart from the planting materials used to establish plantation (tree) crops, the climate of the location where
the plantation is sited is important for productivity of the plants.
Important climatic factors are:
A. Length of the dry season
B Rainfall amounts and duration
C. Night temperature
Different crops have different specific climatic requirements.
1. Mango requires drought to flower. Mango flowers and fruits best in areas with
three or four months of drought such as the derived savanna areas.
2. Oil palm: Drought induces more male flowers than female flowers. Therefore
areas with more than three months of severe drought are unsuitable for oil palm
production. Oil palm is best produced in decidous and semidecious forest areas in
the eastern, central
3.Cocoa: Frequent rains result in increased humidity which in turns result in high
incidence of black pod disease during the fruiting period. These conditions found
in some parts of the Western region.
4. Rubber latex stops flowing in the dry season Therefore Rubber is best produced in areas with short
dry season such as the Western Region.
5. Coffee requires cool night temperature to flower. Coffee yields best in
mountainous regions where the night temperature is low such as areas in the Eastern
and Volta regions..
Therefore knowledge of origin and ecology of the perennial crops is important for sitting the plantation at
the right place.
Examples of disastrous state plantations
Oil palm plantation was established at Kwamoso, a marginal area in the Eastern region
with wrong planting material
Cola plantation was established at Akwansrem and Juabeng with unselected seeds
Cocoa plantation was in the Western region in a location favourable for severe black pod disease
Land preparation begins with the opening up of forest vegetation
1. Trees are felled with cutlass, axes, chain saw, fire.
2. Chemical tree poisoning (Arboricide, 2.4-D) may be used to remove trees
3. Bulldozers degrade and compact soil and ,remove soil organic matter.
Effects of clearing forest vegetation on the environment
1. In the equilibrium state the forest environment is cool, dark, and damp.
2 The top soil rich in organic matter.
3. There is no weed growth due to dormant weed seeds.
4. Low pest and diseases infestation.
Changes occurring after removal of forest cover
After the forest cover is removed, there is increased light and heat radiation hitting the
soil surface. There is also direct impact of rain on soil surface. The result is that dormant weed seed begin to
grow. There is rapid mineralization of soil organic
There is increased run off resulting in erosion. There is also disease and pest build up.
Therefore the following cultural practices are required to minimize the unfavourable effects of clearing
forest vegetation on the environment for establishment of plantation crops.
1.Cover cropping (green manuring) is required erosion control and soil
organic mater buildup
2. Temporal and permanent shade are required to reduce direct effects of sunlight and rains on the soil
Temporal shade may include food crop intercrops.
Permanent shade may include fast growing leguminous trees such as Leucena spp and Gliricidia spp to
reduce excessive sunlight.
Planting time is when rains have stabilized – i.e. The peak of the rainy season is the best time for
Each tree crop has a definite spacing at which yield is optimum. It is required that lining and pegging is
carried out after soon after clearing to ensure that the plantation is established at the correct spacing.
Cover crops are established one or two years after establishing the plantation. For closely spaced tree crops
such as cocoa and coffee, the beneficial effects of cover crops disappear when the canopy closes.
Integration of livestock production with tree crop production
For the widely spaced tree crops such as Oil palm, Pueraria cover crop is widely used for
nitrogen fixation, organic matter build up, and control of weeds. Pueraria cover is an excellent pasture for
sheep. This makes it possible to integrate plantation crop production with live stock production.
Other cultural practices required after establishing plantation crops
1. Pruning: Pruning involves removal of some parts of the plant eg basal chupons. Basal branches, lateral
branches or leaf bases. The following benefits may be derived from pruning practices: Pruning
encourages formation of new flowers as in Coffee It shapes the tree for ease of harvesting as in. oil palm
It regulates the height of canopy as in cocoa, and encourages the growth of the scion as in Citrus and
Other cultural practices after establishing tree crops
1. Intercropping: Crops that are used as intercrop may provide:
Check erosion and weeds
2. Fertilization: Based on the nutrient requirement of the crop and the nutrient status of the soil. Inorganic
and organic sources of fertilizer are used. Emphasis is now shifting to the use of organic fertilizers.
3. Disease and Pest control: Monoculture of plantation crops provides substrate for the buildup of specific
diseases and pest.
Processing, Utilization and International Trade of Plantation and Industrial Crops
As a general rule:
1. Centres of origin of tree crops are far remote from major centres of production
2. Major centres of consumption of the processed product are far remote from major the centres of
production of the primary product
Origin: South America (Brazil)
Major Production Centres: W/A
Uses: Beverages, soap, confectionaries and pharmaceuticals
Consumption centres : Europe and North America
Major Production Centre: Far East ( Malaysia)
Uses: Lorry tires, shoes, insulators, condoms, etc.
Major Consumption Centres: USA/Europe
Origin: West Africa
Major Production Centre: Malaysia
Consumption Centres: Europe, USA, andWorld market
Origin: Africa (Ethiopia)
Major Production Centre: Brazil
Consumption Centres: Europe, USA,World market
Origin: West Africa
Major Production Centre: West Africa
Consumption Centres: Europe, USA, and World market