PRE-VOCATIONAL

CONSUMER CHALLENGES AND RIGHTS

All person buying or consuming goods and services expects to get the best value for the money spent. He also has some rights and responsibilities over the quality of the goods bought and opportunity to seek redress. It is therefore necessary that consumers should be properly guided in order to manage their financial resources wisely.   Definition of Consumer Consumer is anybody who buys products or services from where it is expected (market) such that the he gets the best from the goods or services paid for. For example a person that subscribes to Global System of Mobile Telecommunication (GSM) for telephone calls should not experience anything like ‘network is busy’; the person you are calling is not available at this time, ‘please call again later’, or paying for electricity bills where one has been without light for days.   Rights of the Consumer Consumer rights are laws aimed at protecting consumers when they buy goods or services. The following are universal consumer rights: Right to safety: This right protects the consumer from hazardous goods. Right to information: The consumer needs information on alternative products available, and protection from false and misleading claims in advertising and labelling practices. Right to choose: This involves availability of competing goods and services that have the same price, quality and service. Right to be heard or redress: This right assures the consumer of governments protection through laws and easy access to getting justice. Right to consumer education: The consumer should be educated about the various consumer goods and services, prices, and standard trade practices etc. Right to consumer representation: Consumer Protection Council should always be ready to assist consumers to get justice. Right to satisfaction of basic needs: A consumer should be satisfied with the purchase of basic needs like food, clothing and shelter. Right to health environment: Individuals to keep their environments clean, ban on cigarette smoking in public places, laws to protect the environment and government to provide waste disposal treatment plants.   Challenges to the Consumer Consumers face a lot of challenges, when they buy goods and services. Amongst them include the following: Ignorance of consumer rights. Lack of communication organ to inform consumers on their rights. There are limited number of consumer protection council offices where consumers should make their complaint. Slow redress processes. Uncontrolled sale of hazardous and fake products. Consumers interest do not receive due consideration at appropriate forum. There are no definite standards by industries and professional bodies to safeguard the interest of the consumers.   Redress Options to Consumers A customer is a ‘king’ is the popular saying that justifies the superiority of consumers in market places. In an event where the consumer is not satisfied, he is free to seek for compensation i.e. ‘redress’ through a regulatory body or other agencies. Some of the consumer redress options include the following: Public authorities: For example Consumer Protection Council (CPC). The primary function of this body to protect buyers of goods and services against low quality or dangerous products and advertisements that deceive people. They make laws that enable them perform this function. Consumer Protection Council is among the first point of call to aggrieved consumers. It is the best of all redress option because it can result in a positive response from suppliers in terms or providing compensations. Individual court action: This is very common especially where consumer is a victim of serious fraud. For example government failure to provide infrastructure but will intimidate consumers to pay using all forceful means, sale of land with forged documents etc. This process demands money, time and it is frustrating because of time delays in courts. However in some cases threat of court action prompts settlement out of court which is in the interest of the consumer. Consumer organisations: Examples of these are market associations and association of interest groups (motor parts association, yam sellers association, Nigeria Union of Teachers, etc.). This is often a good starting point for consumers complaints. They have helped in bringing action against companies on behalf of consumers. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): In this case mediators between suppliers and consumers are appointed by court or organisations. Mediators should be persons of proven integrity. He should also be neutral in his judgement. This process is prone to abuse in some cases. Collective court action: This is also very common especially with association of interest groups, usually against government agencies. It is very convenient for consumers because they employ the services of a lawyer, pay little and save time of going to court.   Procedure for Seeking Redress Companies use different methods to advertise their products and make them look attractive to consumers. Consumers will purchase these products based on the claims of the companies and expect a certain level of satisfaction. However the products do not always meet the sellers claims or the customers expectation. The consumer has a right to be satisfied with a purchase and there are ways or procedure to enforce consumers rights. The following procedure is usually employed in seeking redress: Make photocopies of all documents that support your complaint e.g. receipts of transaction. Store original documents in a safe place since they may be needed as proof. Check the policies of the company and make sure you are acting within your rights. Make a complaint at the right place through letter, e-mail, phone call or a visit to the company. Show your supporting document and other evidence e.g. unsatisfactory item purchased. Take picture of the item and include it in the letter or scan to include in e-mail. Seek the services of a mediator if not successful on your own. Mediator helps to resolve issues between two parties but has no legal power to enforce the final decision. Seek legal consultation – A lawyer can advise you to proceed with the case or not, your chances of winning or other alternative methods of solving the problem.

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FISHERIES

All the activities relating to the production of fish and other aquatic animals known as fisheries. Fishes are cold-blooded animals, that is their body temperature changes according to that of their surroundings in which they live. They breathe with the help of gills and swim with their fins. They feed on plankton. All fishes are vertebrates, that is, they have backbones and scales. They have steam-line body for swimming freely in water. fish may be viviparous, oviparous, and ovoviviparous in reproduction. Fishery is the area of specialization in agriculture that is concerned with the production of fishes as well as other aquatic animals. The rearing of fishes (fingerlings) or fryers in ponds or other enclosed bodies of water until they reach table size is called fish farming. A person who sells fish is referred to as monger.   Classification of Fishes Fish can be classified according to their: Habitat. Morphology.   Classification of fish based on habitat On the basis of habitat, fish can be classified into: Fresh water fish. Salt water fish. Estuarine fish.   Fresh water fish: These are fishes that are capable of living and reproducing in waters free of salts. Such waters include artificial or natural inland ponds, lakes, swamps, rivers and streams. Examples of fishes here are tilapia, crayfish, carp, catfish, common eel, nile perch etc. Salt water fish: These are fishes that do not well only in salt water. Such waters include coastal lagoons, sea and ocean. Examples of fishes are herring, crabs, lobsters, sardine, cod (stock fish), shark, mackerel, croaker, sole and ray. Estuarine habitat: This means water found in estuaries where rivers flow into the sea or oceans. Example is the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. The salt content of this habitat is in-between the content of marine habitat and fresh water habitat. Fishes may not permanently live in this kind of habitat as some do move from fresh water or from salt water into the estuaries and return thereafter. A typical example of such fishes is the mudfish.   Classification of fish based on morphology Fishes can also be classified on the basis of morphology, that is, structure of their body. There are two types of fishes according to their morphology. These include. Bony fish Cartilaginous fish   Bony fish: In bony fish, the body frame (skeleton) is made of true bone. The body is covered with spindle-shape scales. The gill slits of bony fish are covered by an operculum. Examples of bony fishes are catfish, croakers, mackerel, tilapia, claries and perch. In Nigeria, most of our fishes fall within the fresh water and bony groups. Cartilaginous fish: In cartilaginous fish, the internal skeleton is mainly cartilage rather than bone. Cartilage is a substance like bone which is firm, shiny and elastic. The skin is tough which is covered with small scales. The pelvic fins of male have a copulation organ known as claspers. Cartilaginous fish have about five to seven gill slits that are open to their external environment. Examples of cartilaginous fish found in salt water habitat are dogfish, sharks, rays, electric eels and saw fish.   Other types of aquatic organisms Although fishes are the most common aquatic animals which we eat, many other aquatic animals are also caught by fishermen and consumed by man or used for many other purposes. The other large aquatic food organism can be classified into two major groups: Vertebrate. Invertebrate.   Vertebrates: Aquatic vertebrates can be classified into two major groups Amphibians e.g. toad and frog. Reptiles e.g. turtle, crocodile, river snake, alligator. Mammals e.g. whale, dolphin, hippopotamus.   Invertebrates: These consist mainly of animals closely related to spiders, scorpions and insects. They are called crustaceans. Examples are crabs, shrimps, lobsters, prawns and the snails and their relatives e.g. periwinkles and oysters which are also examples of invertebrates.   Uses of fish and fish products Fish skins are used as leather for making shoes, bags and other leather works. Fishing is a hobby to some people, and a source of employment. Fish can be raised for sporting purposes. Fish serves as a source of financial reward to farmers. It is a source of foreign exchange. Fish is used as food which serves as a source of protein, vitamin (A & B) and minerals. Fish is used as food which serves as a source of protein, discards are used as industrial raw materials. Fish can also serves as feed to livestock e.g. fish meal. Fish oil is a very rich source of vitamin B and D and as such fish is processed to extract the oil for use in curing vitamin deficiency as in the case of cod liver oil. Fish can serve as pets in the house aquaria. Here, beautiful coloured fishes are used.   Fishing methods and equipment There are various fish habitats e.g. swamp, rivers, coastal lagoons, ponds, streams, seas and oceans. As a result of this, various methods are employed to catch fish. Example is coastal and deep seas and oceans referred to as distant fishing system. Here fishes are caught with the help of a bag-shaped net called trawl, which is fixed on boats and ships called trawlers. In the case of inland water fishing, i.e. fishing in ponds, streams and rivers or swamps, simple methods and equipment like fishing line and hook, harpoons and spears, traps and nets are used.   Fishing equipment/kinds of fishing tools There are different kinds of fishing equipment commonly used in Nigeria. They can be grouped into four types Wounding equipment. Netting equipment. Trapping equipment. Fishing without equipment. Modem equipment.   Wounding equipment This is a fishing gear that can be used to wound the fish as are being caught. They are very useful for killing fish, struggle as they are being caught. The fish cannot escape when wounded. Examples of wounding gears are knives, arrows, hook and line. Spears, harpoons, and knives: These are used to pierce or cut fish in the water to wound and kill them. (Impaling) Hook and line: Using hook to fish is a very common method used by young people. The hook is attached to a nylon or cotton rope called the line which is tied to a short length of bamboo or stick. Bait which may be an earthworm, insect larva and sometimes a small fish is attached to the hook. When a fish tries to feed in the bait it swallows the hook, the floater shakes in the water and the fisherman knows immediately that his hook has caught a fish. In some cases many hooks are attached to a long line, which is left in the water to catch several fish at the same time.   Netting equipment There are different types of fishing nets (netting equipment). Gill net: This net is in the form of a contain of net suspended vertically in the water. The net is normally made of nylon twine. Floats are fixed to the top of the net and sinkers attached to the bottom which keep it in position. Thus, any fish which try to swim through it is trapped in the meshed. Until the fisherman can raise them. Drag net: This is made up of a thick rope running round the top mesh of the mouth and has a cork floats on the surface with heavy pierces of lead at the bottom. The use of this net involves about four fishermen or more to be result oriented. It is set in water in a semi-circular form and dragged to the ground to facilitate the removal of the fish. Cast or throw net: This is a conical shaped net with lead weights fixed along the edge of the open end. It is between 4-7 meters in length and a line of about 4-10 metres used in retrieving the net. (pill it in). When a fish is sighted, it is thrown into the water. It sinks and later encloses the fish the fish trapped inside its use requires a boat and great skill in casting. Seine net: This is non-selective in cropping of fish, and it is used to harvest both young and mature fish because it has a small mesh. It has lead sinkers and floats which are fixed to the top ropes thereby forming an enclosure where fish is trapped and unable to escape.   Trapping equipment These are used along riverbanks, streams and swamps. Examples of fish traps are: Funnel entrance traps: Fishes swim into the unbaited traps and are unable to escape. Triggered traps: These are usually baited with some foods e.g. Guinea corn meal, fish piece or snails. As fish approach the baits, they set off the trigger which causes the door of the trap to close behind the fish. They are designed with bird cages.   Fishing without equipment Fences: The fences are made from bamboo, wood or raffia palms, which are placed across shallow streams or rivers. As water flows, fishes are trapped behind the flow where they are periodically collected. Fences are commonly used in swampy areas where there is a flood plain. They are usually erected across the connecting channel between swamp and the river at the time the flood is receding. In effect, fish that are stranded due to low water level are caught. Draining of ponds: This entails the removal of all water in the pond in order to harvest the fishes. Hand or scoop net is used for scooping out fish from the drained ponds.   Modern equipment 1. Trawlers: This has a bag-shaped net called trawl. This is used in commercial farming by big fishing companies. They are attached to ships and drawn into deep sea. It catches fish of very large sizes, and also has units for preserving such fishes caught. The bottom of the trawler is installed with a propeller which it uses in cutting fishes. It is usually non-selective in harvesting. 2. Ultrasonic: This is a noise-making device which attracts or lures fishes to a particular corner of the pond before the fisherman can then catch them. 3. Electro-Fishing: This is a non-selective method of harvesting. A current of electricity is passed through the pond creating an electric field in an enclosed area and later all the fishes are shocked and killed.   Risk factors in water and fish farming Polluting water with chemicals / industrial effluents or waste. Contaminating fish with chemicals used for catching fish Natural flooding. Disease out-break. Very low and very high Ph level of water.   Factors affecting siting of a fish pond Soil type: Clay soil is most suitable for siting a fish pond. Sandy soil and graveling land should be avoided as they encourage seepage. Water supply: It requires a constant source of water supply, which must be of good quality. The pond water should be free from industrial waste e.g. salt and other pollutants. Topography: A gentle slope or flat land is ideal for fish pond construction. Low land should be avoided as it encourages flooding. Availability of market: The fish pond should be sited in areas where harvested fishes can be easily marketed. For example, marketing of fishes is easy and quick in the south-south zone of Nigeria. Availability of labour: This means that the services of both skilled and unskilled workers should be readily available in areas where fish ponds are to be side. Availability of baby fish (fish seeds): Fish seeds, that is, small fishes should be easily obtained when fish ponds are to be established. Availability of feeds: Fish supplements such as groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, poultry droppings, etc should be easily reached. Vegetation: Thick vegetation should not be used so as to reduce the cost of clearing and stumping.

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ANIMAL NUTRITION

Meaning of nutrition The art and science of feeding farm animals including plants to achieve healthy growth is known as nutrition. Feed is the food or meal eaten by farm animals and the food elements contained in animals feeds are called nutrients. These various elements include oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, sulphur,iodine, iron, chlorine, cobalt, sodium, manganese, copper, zinc and molybdenum.   Food/feed nutrients and classification Food nutrients are chemical elements present in feeds fed to animals. These elements have been mentioned above. Farm animals need food for production, growth, energy, performance of body functions and general repairs. There are six classes of food nutrients/constituents which are required by farm animals. These include: Protein. Carbohydrate. Fat. Mineral. Vitamin. Water.   Proteins Composition: Proteins are chemically composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sulphur. They are made up of sub- Proteins are classified according to their composition as follows: Simple proteins: These are proteins which provide only amino acids on hydrolysis e.g. albumin and myosin. Conjugate proteins: These are proteins that yield organic and inorganic components in addition to amino acids e.g. mycoprotein and nucleoprotein.   Sources of Protein Sources of proteins are groundnuts, beans, peas, groundnut cake, melon cake, cotton seeds, blood meal, lean meat, albumen of egg and milk.   Functions of Protein Used in the replacement of worn out tissues. Used in the building of animal cells (tissues). Used in the formation of hormones and enzymes. Assist in the production of wool, milk and egg formation.   Effects of protein deficiency The effects of protein deficiency in the body of farm animals are given below. It causes poor and retarded growth. It causes poor reproductive process. It leads to kwashiorkor in all farm animals. It results in poor functioning of enzymes and hormones.   Carbohydrates Composition: The chemical constituents of carbohydrates are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates are classified into: Monosaccaharides (or simple sugars): They are easily digested e.g. glucose, fructose and maltose. Disaccharides (or complex sugars): They are not readily digested e.g. sucrose, maltose and cellulose. They have more complex molecular units than simple sugars. In fact, they are formed from simple sugars by condensation reaction. Excess carbohydrate is converted to fats.   Sources of carbohydrates: The sources of carbohydrates are: Cereals e.g. maize, guinea corn, millet etc. Virtually all sweet fruits juice and sugar cane. Roots and tubers e.g. cassava, yam, potato. Some roughage.   Fats Composition: Fats are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Fats are also called lipids. Fats are broken down on digestion into fatty acids and glycerol.   Sources of fats The sources of fats include groundnut cake, oil palm kernel cake, linseed cake, coconut cake, cotton seed residues, melon seed, cashew nut.   Functions of fats Provide energy for movement. They insulate the body from cold and therefore help to maintain the body temperature. Essential fatty acids are needed for growth.   Minerals (ash) Composition: Minerals also called ash, are inorganic compounds existing in combined state as ions in solutions. They are classified according to the quantity required by the body. Major minerals: Major minerals are needed in large quantities e.g. phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, chlorine and sulphur. Minor minerals: These are required in small quantities e.g. Iodine, copper, manganese and zinc.   Sources of minerals Green plants. Supplements such as bone meal, oyster shell, blood meal. Salt licks.   Functions of minerals They promote digestion, absorption and excretion. They are needed for reproduction, lactation and growth. They regulate acid-base relationship of the body fluid. They promote formation of bone, teeth etc. They are needed for protein synthesis.   Vitamin Composition: Vitamins contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Vitamins are organic substances which animals need in small quantities for normal health, growth and reproduction. They are also called welfare food substances. They are classified into two groups. Water soluble vitamins e.g. vitamins B and C. Fat soluble vitamins e.g. Vitamins A, D, E and K which dissolve in fats.   Sources of vitamins Green fodder or green vegetables. Cod-liver oil. Fruits. Fish meal. Cereals.   Functions of vitamins. Prevent diseases. Encourage growth. Help general functions of the body.   Water Composition: It consists of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is the major constituent of the blood and body fluids. It constitutes about 75% of the body weight of the adult animal and about 95% of the newly born baby.   Sources of water Drinking water. Fresh fodder and grasses. Metabolic water.   Functions of water Regulates body temperature. Dissolves food nutrients. Removes waste products from the body. Lubricates joints. It helps in food digestion.   Effects of water deficiency A deficiency of water in the body of farm animals causes the following: Dehydration: This is a situation when farm animal loses water to the environment without replacement which makes, the animal to become flaccid. Restlessness. Low production in farm animals in terms egg, milk and meat. Slow growth. Paralysis and eventual death in farm animals.   Types of feeds/feeding stuffs Feeding stuffs are classified according to their predominant nutrients. Livestock rations are compounded from the groups, depending on the type of animal.   Animal feeds can be classified into four (4) main groups. These are: Concentrates. Succulents. Roughages. Supplements and additives.   Concentrates: These are animal feeds low in fibre and water content. They are feed mixtures which provide all the primary dietary needs of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, some vitamins and minerals. Examples include:- Cereals like maize, rice, guinea corn, millet, bran. These are also called basalfeeds or energy concentrates. A basal/energy concentrate is the feed that has crude fibre content less than 18%. Animal products e.g. blood meal, bone meal and fish meal. These are animal protein concentrates. Protein concentrate is a type feed that has crude fibre content less 18% like basal concentrate. Oil seeds and cakes e.g. groundnut cake, soybean cake, soybean cake, cotton seed cake, coconut cake. Leguminous seeds such as soybean and groundnut, cowpea etc. These are plant protein concentrates mainly fed to monogastric animals.   Characteristics of Basal/energy feed (carbohydrate concentrate) and Protein Concentrate Carbohydrate Concentrate High in Carbohydrate or fat energy. Low in protein. Low in fibre. High digestible. Low in minerals.   Protein Concentrate High Protein. Low Carbohydrate/fat. Low fibre. Highly digestible. Low in minerals.   Succulents: Succulents are very high in water and easily digested by animals. They are also high in carbohydrates. Examples include roots, tubers, some plants such as water leaf and sweetners e.g. Cane molasses and crude sugar.   Roughages: Roughages are animal feeds characterized by high fibre content (more 18% crude fibre). They are usually industrial by products. Examples are fodder, hay, silage, straw, e.g. Maize and Guinea corn stalk. Characteristics of roughages Very high in fibre. Low in digestible carbohydrate/low in energy. Low in protein. Poor/Low digestibility.   Explanation of different forms of roughages 1) Dry roughages: The dry roughages include Hay: This is a dry roughage. It refers to the aerial part of the young and succulent grass or herbage cut and dried for feeding ruminant animals during the dry season, in area were green pasture/grasses are not easily available. Straw: This is also dry roughage which refers to aerial part of grass or harvested crops cut and stored for future use. Wet roughages are called soilage and silage respectively.   2 ) Wet roughages: The wet roughages include Soilage: This is wet roughage which means theprocess of cutting fresh or succulent grasses and legumes from the field and fed to animals in their pens. Soilage is also known as zero grazing in the sense that animals are not permitted to go out to feed on the grasses rather the grasses are cut and taken to them in their pens/paddocks. Silage: This refers to the preservation of green and succulent forage crops usually carried out under anaerobic condition.   Feed Supplements and Additives: These are feeds and substances which are required in small quantity to add nutrients or growth promotion substances which may be deficient in rations of livestock. Examples of supplements are groundnut cake, cotton seed cake, fish meal, blood meal, bone meal, salt licks, vitamins and minerals while examples of additives include antibiotics such as terramycine and auromycine, hormones and amino acids.   Characteristics of mineral/vitamin supplement Low in energy. Low in Protein. Low in Fibre. High in vitamin/mineral. For growth and development. Aids resistance to diseases. Aids in food digestion.   Ration and types of rations A ration is feed given to a farm animal per unit time. Rations are classified according to the purpose they serve in the animal body. These are: Maintenance ration. Production ration. Balanced ration.   Maintenance ration: Maintenance ration is a ration which contains nutrients to enable the animal carry on normal body functions or activities without gaining or losing weight. Examples is finished beef cattle and broiler feeds. Production ration: This is a ration which in addition to supplying nutrients for maintenance, also supplies additional nutrients to enable the animal produce a specific product or products such as milk (for dairy cows) and eggs (for laying hens) or even growth in young animals. Examples is feed for dairy cattle, layer, fattening materials. Balanced ration: A balanced ration is one which contains all the nutrients required by particular animal in the right proportion. A balanced ration should compose protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water.   Malnutrition Malnutrition is a condition in which an animal shows evidence of nutritional deficiency. It occurs when an animal is fed a ration which is deficient in one or more nutrients. For example, a ration which is deficient in protein causes reduced growth. Other examples of malnutrition include rickets, allopesia (loss of hair), crazy chick diseases (Encephalomalacea).   Effects of malnutrition Low production. Retarded growth. High mortality rate. Susceptibility to diseases. Physical deformities e.g. Rickets in young animals. Death of animals.   Factors considered when formulating animals rations The purpose for which the animal is being kept. The class of animal. The age of the animal. The animal’s condition of health. Physiological state of the animal e.g. Weaning, pregnancy.   Feeding equipment/tools for livestock production Different forms of feeding and drinking toughs or containers exist. They include wooden feeding trough, and aluminum drinking rough, bucket, silage fork and milk chute.

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PROPAGATION OF CROPS

Meaning of propagation Propagation is the process of raising young plants from seeds or by vegetative parts.   Methods of crop propagation There are two main methods of crop propagation. Viz: Sexual propagation Asexual propagation   Sexual or seed propagation Sexual propagation is the development of crop plant through the sowing of seeds. Crops which can be propagated by this method are tomato, okro, onion, oil palm, coconut, maize, rice, cowpea, etc. the seeds of these crop may be planted directly in the field e.g. rice or firstly in a nursery before transplanting to the field e.g. oil palm, cocoa, tomato.   Advantages of sexual propagation It is easier to increase crop population by using this method. Sexual method is more convenient because seeds are easy to handle (that is, easy to carry, store, procure and sow). Sexual propagation enhances crop improvement through selection and breeding to generate improved varieties of crops.   Disadvantages of sexual propagation The crop plants that are seedless cannot be used for propagation. The gestation period of some crops is very long. It therefore takes time for such crops to mature and fruit if their seeds are planted. Pests normally eat up some seeds in the soil during the process of germination.   Qualities of seeds The seeds should be matured. The seeds should be well dried. Large seeds should be used as they give good yields. They also have high vigour. The seeds should be free from holes as they will no longer be viable. Seeds should not be stored for long time as they may not germinate.   Seed treatment Before sowing, seeds should be treated. Methods used include: Chemical dressing of seeds: Seeds are treated with appropriate chemical to prevent disease organisms and pests. Pre-sack-the-seed: Here, hard seeds are soaked in water to facilitate germination. Scarification: This is the process whereby the surfaces of seeds are loosened to enhance emergence of plumule and radicle.   Asexual or vegetative propagation Asexual or vegetative propagation is the propagation of crop plants using the vegetative parts of the parent plant. For example, root, stem and leaves. Crops that can be sown in this way include cassava, rubber, pineapple, sugar cane and banana.   Natural methods of vegetative propagation Some crops plants are naturally adapted to vegetative propagation and are easily grown by this method. The following are the commonest portions of the plant used for the purpose of natural propagation. Rhizomes: These are underground stems which can be cut into sections and replanted e.g. gingers and canna. Suckers: Many plants produce offshoots, complete with roots, which can be severed from parent plant and replanted elsewhere e.g. banana and pineapple. Bulbs and corns: These are swollen portions of stem (corns) and scale or foliage leaves (bulbs) which are produced by certain plants, e.g. Onion (bulb), cocoyam (corm). Runners: These are produced by the parent plant and are modified stems which travel over the soil and produce rootsat intervals e.g. banana, straw berries.   Horticultural methods of vegetative propagation Four commonly used horticultural methods of asexual propagation are: Cuttings Layering Grafting Budding   Cuttings: This is a method in which parts of the parent plant are detached and planted in the soil so as to grow. A gardener can make use of the root e.g. apply by using its suckers or stem as in cassava or the leaf as water leaf plant. The length of each cutting varies from 5cm-30cm depending on the type of crop plant being propagated. When to make cutting: Cuttings will root better or most easily if they are taken during the rains, but they also be taken during dry season provided they are well watered and shaded while they are rooting.   Layering: Layering is the propagation of plants from parts of the stem by which the stems are allowed to develop roots before cutting them off from the parent plant.   Procedure involved in layering: Select a branch of ripened wood which can be easily bent down to reach the soil without breaking. Cut the branch half way through with a sharp knife immediately below one of the leaf buds, passing the knife along the cut to split the branch for a distance of 2cm -5cm. The slit portion is called the tongue and this may be kept open by inserting a small pebble into the incision. Bend the branch down to ground level and remove the soil to a depth of 5cm -8cm at a point in line with the cut. The prepared portion of stem is then lowered into the depression in the soil and secured in position by a forked peg The stem portion is then covered with a mixture of sand and leaf mold. The layered stem must be kept shaded and moist. in layering, a rooting hormone compound may be inserted in the cut section to induce root formation.   Grafting: Grafting is placing together two cut surfaces of the same or of different closely related plants in such a way as to cause them to unit and grow together. The plant onto which this graft is inserted is called the stock. The plant material inserted on to the stock is called the scion. Selection of a suitable stock is very important for successful grafting.   Budding: This is a form of propagation which involves taking an “eye” or bud with a small portion of bark attached from a young branch, and inserting it in a corresponding cut made in the stem or branch of another plant. Budding is commonly use in citrus. During budding, inverted T or a T-shaped head cut is made at 45cm from the ground on the stem of the stock plant. The T-shaped cut is slightly raised so as to expose the cambium. The bud is then carefully inserted into the raised bark and pressed firmly in order to unite together the cambia of both bud and stock. This is immediately tied with a plastic material to keep the stock and scion in close contact until union is completed. It is advisable to prevent air and water from the cut until the bud as “heal” or “taken” together with the shock. This is evident when the bud becomes greenish. The bud later shoots in about two weeks and as it becomes pronounced, the cut of the stock above the bud is removed. It is recommended that the cut surface should be painted in order to arrest bacterial or fungi infection.   Advantages of budding and grafting Stocks of valuable varieties of trees may be raised when other methods fail. Crop plants with uniform qualities are produced. Fruit trees can be multiplied and brought into bearing early. Damaged parts of a crop plant can be replaced by grafting.   Marcotting: This is the propagation method in which the bark of a branch or crop plant is peeled off with a sharp knife, up to a considerable length of about 5cm long. The peeled section is covered and tied with organic manure. This is watered until roots are generated. When the roots become fully established, the branch is cut of the plant and the rooted branch is sown to give rise to a new crop plant. This method is suitable only for plants whose roots do not produce roots with ease. Examples include mango, lemon and shrubs.   Advantages of asexual propagation Crop plants have uniform growth rate. Production of new plants is quicker using this method e.g. flowers etc. It is cheaper and more economical than seed propagation. The crops have high vigour. Crop plants can withstand adverse soil and weather.   Disadvantages of asexual propagation Cuttings cannot be stored till the next planting season. Spread of diseases from parent plants to offspring is possible. Budding and grafting require special skill. Most crop plants produced by asexual propagation do not enhance or support pollination.

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