Crop Emergence and Growth Performance of Telfaria occidentalis as influenced by Crude Oil Pollution in Imo State, Nigeria. Anyaegbu Polycarp Ozobia and Ezeibekwe Innocent
University o f Abuja, FCT, Abuja Nigeria Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria.,. Corresponding Author email@example.com
Introduction Prior to independence and shortly after it, Agriculture was the back-bone of Nigeria economy. During that period, Nigeria was the largest producer of Palm oil, Cocoa (Theobroma cocao), Ground nut (Arachis hypogia) etc. With the advent of crude oil, Nigeria shifted emphasis, 100%, on crude oil production, that presently, it is the 6th largest producer of crude oil in the world. Crude oil production in Nigeria is done in the South and Eastern parts of the Country .Meanwhile, Imo State, in the Eastern part of the Country, is one of the oil producing States in Nigeria. Specifically oil exploitation in the State is done in Ohaji, Egbema, Oguta and Ngor Okpula Local Government areas respectively. Incidentally these areas are the main agricultural base in Imo State. Since oil exploitation in these areas commenced, there have been cases of oil pollution in the environment; water, air, and soil pollution respectively. Crude oil is made up of many pollutants such as hydrocarbons, lead, dust, nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide which are released to the atmosphere when in use. . Consequently the productivity of some crops especially roots and tubers and vegetables such as Telfaria occidentalis ,have been adversely affected as a result of the pollution. Telfaria occidentalis, a tropical perennial vine, commonly called Fluted pumpkins ( Elsvier 2003).is one of the most important vegetables in Nigeria, grown significantly in Imo state. The vegetable, in the Family, Curcurbitaceae, is grown both for its leaves (Table 1 ) and for oily seeds contained in its large ribbed fruits (Mark2007). The plant is mainly grown in West Africa, especially in Nigeria ,Siera leone, and Ghana (Anyaegbu 2007). The seeds are eaten whole when boiled, ground into powder for any kind of soup or made into fermented porridge, (Duke 1997) They have an agreeable almond- like flavour. Telfaria occidentalis leaves are basic vegetables in native Soups like “edi kain kong” ( Calabar soup) , “ofe Owerri”,(Owerri soup), “Ugba soup”(Imo State ), Ogbono soup, etc and for making sauce plantain, rice, yam,etc,. Medically maceration of the leaves, mixed with Malt drink ,serves as a blood booster and to reduce cholesterol level, in human beings, (Burkill 1985 ). The oil extracted from the seeds, consisting of oleic acid 37% , strearic and palmitic acids 21% each, linoleic acid 15% and smaller quantities others and of minerals and vitamins, is non- drying and is considered suitable for soap manufacture, (Adegoke et al, 1968) . Therefore ,this study is designed to determine whether the growth performance of Telfaria occldentalis is being affected by Crude oil application and ton find out which level(s) of the Crude oil will affect the growth of Telfaria occidentalis more than others. Materials and methods Two trials were carried out, one in 2009 at Ohaji, Imo State and the other in 2010 at Owerri, Imo State respectively. The first experimental site ,Ohaji, is located on Latitude 07007’ E and Longitude 07007’E,( Anyaegbu 2007),while the second experimental site (Owerri) is located between Latitudes 5010’N and 600’N, Longitudes 6035’E and 7030’E ( Christo 2010). The climate of these areas is a humid tropical type characterized by wet and dry seasons. The mean annual rainfall is about 2500mm and is bi-modal with peaks in July and September( Nwosu 1981) The minimum and maximum temperatures are 200C and 320 respectively. The area has rainforest Vegetation. The soil of the areas is characterized by deep porous red soils derived from sandy deposits in the...