Gomani, is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Banana Cultivation Farming
Banana farming is one of the profitable farming business which is able to provide enough profit to both small, medium and large scale Banana producers under the better management. A lot of people nowadays are looking for better ways of growing bananas which can make them more efficient in Banana production. This article will give in detail on how to grow bananas as well as all the management practices to be considered. Banana is a fruit which is cultivated and is eaten when it is ripe (dessert) or cooked. The ripe Banana fruit is able to provide vitamins A, B6 & C and potassium. On the other hand the cooked Banana is rich in carbohydrates. Banana can also be processed into Banana flour through value addition. It can as well be canned into slices, jam, jelly, wine among others. As an agribusiness farmer, to perform better in Banana farming, you do not need more effort, but you need skills which would enable you to perform agronomic practices more efficiently in Banana farming.
Some Common Varieties For Bananas
Choice of variety depends on available market demand, the following are commonly grown varieties.
1. Giant Cavendish
This type of Banana variety is known to have the following characteristics; tall stem, higher resistant to fusarium wilt, prone to Black Sigatok, strong pseudo-stem among others.
2. Chinese Dwarf
This variety is known with the following characteristics; short stern, Banana of this type does not require propping, ability of plants to be grown in higher altitude areas (2,100m), high resistance of the Banana plant to fusarium wilt among others.
3. Grand Nain
This variety is a cultivar of Cavendish type and is known with the following characteristics; being tolerant to environmental stress, produces good quality bunches having Banana fruits, good shelf life for mature fruits among others.
4. Williams Hybrid
This Banana variety produces large bunches with banana fruits which have excellent flavor, aroma, and good taste when ripe among others.
This is a tall Banana variety and its fruits has good taste.
Climatic and Soil Requirements
Bananas performs well in warm subtropical climate areas and they need adequate moisture and protection from strong wind. The optimal temperature for Banana production ranges from 26 to 30°C (78-86F) with relative humidity of a range of 75 to 85%. Banana growth starts at 18ºC, reaches an optimal growth at a temperature of 27ºC. Bananas do not grow when the temperature passes 38ºC. Make sure you avoid growing your Banana plants in windy areas having a velocity wind speed exceeding 80km per hour. Make sure you pop up your Banana plant at its fruiting stage to prevent it from lodging or falling down.
Bananas performs well in well-drained soil. Make sure the soil where you want to grow your Banana has enough water content or make sure you supplement water through Irrigation and drip irrigation is recommended. The optimum soil pH for Banana production is between 6-7.5.
Other Optimal Ecological Requirements
The followings are the other optimal ecological requirements for Banana production.
- Banana performs well in hot and humid areas. These conditions are found at altitudes between 0 and 1,800 m above sea level, so make sure you grow your Banana within that altitudes.
- Banana plants require annual rainfall of a range of 1,000 to 2,000 mm/year and this has to be well distributed.
1. Land preparation practices
Before planting your Banana plant, make sure you till the field. Banana plant requires deep soil cultivation by ploughing and harrowing. Make sure the field is free from trees which would be shading the Banana plant and it has to be free from busses and all perennial weeds. The Banana planting hole should be made having this dimension, 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm, although this may vary depending on water availability and other factors. In dry and semi-arid areas, it is recommended to make a Banana planting hole of this dimension 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm. Make sure the site where you are preparing to plant your Bananas is not waterlogged.
2. Recommended spacing
The recommended spacing for Banana short Varieties is 3 m x 3 m and this will result in 444 plants/acre. The recommended spacing for medium Banana varieties is 3 m x 4 m and this will result in 333 plants/acre. The recommended spacing for tall Banana varieties is 4 m x 4 m and this will result in 250 plants/acre.
3. Fertilizer application
Before you apply any fertilizer to Banana plants, make sure you conduct a soil analysis to know the right fertilizer to apply based on soil test report. It is recommended to keep the top and subsoils in separate. Make sure you mix the topsoil with the manure. The recommended fertilizer on Banana plants is Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and you may apply 200 g per Banana plant.
Transplanting and other Management Practices
1 Appropriate time for transplanting
Banana transplanting has to be done when tissue culture seedlings are about 30 centimeters and have produced at least 5 healthy Banana leaves. Banana suckers should be placed 30 centimeters deep in the planting hole. Make sure each transplant is supplied with enough water.
After transplanting, make sure you provide cover mulch on each and every transplanted Banana plant. You can use sow dust and it encourages fast growth and plant establishment. Mulching is known to conserve the soil moisture as well. Make sure you keep your mulch at least 50 cm from the plant base.
Make sure your Banana field is free from weeds. You can control the weeds manually by hands or by using herbicides. Banana are shallow rooted plants so make sure you handle them with care during weeding.
This is the process of supporting banana plants to prevent it from lodging. Make sure you provide a strong supportive material which will prevent it from lodging. A V shaped pole can be used.