Alternative soil management practices like organic farming assume significance in the context of climate change for safe food production. Yams (white yam, greater yam and lesser yam) and edible aroids (elephant foot yam (EFY), taro and tannia) are tuberous vegetables with good taste and nutritive value. Six field experiments were conducted at the ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, India, over a decade (2004–2015) to compare the varietal response, yield, quality and soil properties under organic vs conventional system and develop a learning system. The elite and local varieties of EFY and taro and the three species of yams, including trailing and dwarf genotypes, responded equally well to both the systems. Organic management enhanced the yield by 10–20% and the net profit by 20–40% over chemical farming. The tuber quality was improved with higher dry matter, starch, crude protein, K, Ca and Mg contents. The anti-nutritional factor in EFY, oxalate content, was lowered by 21%. Physico-chemical and biological properties of soil were favoured and the organic system scored a significantly higher soil quality index. The cost-effective technologies were field validated. A learning system developed using artificial neural networks predicted the performance of EFY organic production system.
Part of the book: Organic Farming