Plantain, a major group of banana varieties (genus Musa) that are staple foods in many tropical areas. The edible fruit of plantain bananas has more starch than the common dessert banana and is not eaten raw.
Because plantains have the most starch before they ripen, they are usually cooked green, either boiled or fried, in savory dishes. The ripe fruits are mildly sweet and are often cooked with coconut juice or sugar as flavoring.
Plantains may also be dried for later use in cooking or ground for use as a meal, which can be further refined to a flour.Plantains are usually ready for harvest anywhere from 14 to 20 months depending on the climate and other factors.
Flowering usually happens within 10-15 months, while an additional 4-8 months is needed for fruit it develop and ripen.
Engage and visit us as we share more knowledge on plantain banana farming.
If you are a wine lover, you might have heard salespeople or winemakers proclaiming some bottles to be unique thanks to high elevation vineyards. Why do they emphasize on high elevation when it comes to finished wine? Vineyards are set on high elevations because of greater temperature fluctuations, solar rays, and scarcity of water resources. High elevation grape farming is exposed to environmental limitations and challenges that help shape highly-acclaimed and unique wines. In Kenya, in Meru, Mombasa, Kibwezi, Mandera, and Naivasha, and parts of Nyeri like Othaya. are the best grape farming areas.
How Solar Rays and Temperature Affect Wine at Elevation
The acidity and tannin structure of a wine is developed in the vineyard and it’s mainly determined by the temperature shift that the vineyard sees from day to night and the exposure to the sun. The intensity and density of solar rays increase as you move upward in elevation. This means that the temperature and direct sunlight hitting the vineyard increases.
Hillside vineyards tend to receive more concentrated and direct sunlight which makes the grapefruits develop thicker skin enhancing the color concentrations and resulting in stronger tannins and flavor profiles. Greater temperature shifts between day and night are experienced in high elevation areas. When the sun sets, temperatures drop although this shift depends on the altitude. The cooler nights throughout the vineyard enable the grapes to conserve their acidity resulting in age-worthy wines. Temperature shifts also help to lengthen the growing season giving grapes more time to develop and mature on the vines. With a sloping terrain, Naivasha is one of the places where grapes can perform well. It has a warm and dry climate where grapes can receive the sun throughout the day.
Climatic conditions for growing grapes
Kenya’s climate that ranges from tropical climate to highland, arid and semi-arid climate makes it ideal for grape farming. Sufficient water, adequate sun, and heat favor viticulture. These factors are important to promote healthy growth of the vines. During fruiting, grapes require warm or hot temperatures and hence the weather must be dry and sunny. Warm temperatures increase the sugar content of the grapes.
This explains why grapes grown under irrigation in arid and semi-arid areas such as Mandera are sweeter than those from humid regions. Apart from the cool climate, Kenya has cool nights, warm days, fertile soils, and moderate rainfall which provide the optimum conditions for grape farming.
The crop thrives in
well-drained soils especially in sandy and loamy soils.
Vines can be damaged by frost which happens when temperatures go below 00C. During vegetative growth, the physiological processes of grapevines begin when the temperatures are above 100C. In Kenya, the average temperatures range between 170C – 200C which are ideal for vegetative growth and flowering.
When temperatures rise above 200C, most of the physiological processes are complete and the grape clusters begin to ripen. Naivasha has temperate climates that give the vines long, warm periods which are important during flowering, fruit set, and fruit ripening.
Other factors that influence viticulture are humidity, sunlight, and wind. Grapes do not require high humidity or strong winds and perform best in places where they are put under irrigation. They thrive in places with light winds such as Naivasha and Meru.
When there is little
moisture, irrigation should be ensured. However, irrigation should be withheld
after heavy rains to minimize excessive vegetative growth and to force the crop
to go dormant. The cropping season is from September to March. Between August
and September, fruit buds should be forming and hence the plants should be kept
healthy and well manured.
Currently, plantain farming is one of the most lucrative ventures in agriculture. Unfortunately, most farmers lack the necessary knowledge needed to start a plantain plantation and hence miss out on the profitability of agri-business. Plantains have fruits similar to bananas, but unlike bananas, the fruits remain green and don’t turn yellow when they ripen. Plantain fruits are mainly boiled, steamed, or fried although they are also eaten raw. With high demand, they can be a good source of revenue even to local farmers.
Plantain is sensitive to temperatures and hence cannot thrive in areas that are extremely cold or too hot. The tropical climate is ideal for plantain, especially in areas where temperatures are between 200C to 300C. The optimum temperature for plantain farming is 270C . These bananas cannot survive in temperatures below 140C. At low temperatures, the leaves and the fruit turns yellow and eventually the plant dies. The bright sun, warm temperatures, and adequate rainfall create an optimum environment for plantain farming.
They require adequate
rainfall although they can be put under irrigation. If they have enough water,
they can handle extreme temperatures and cool weather. However, in extreme
temperatures, they do not thrive.
A pH of between 5.5 and
7.0 is the best for plantain farming.
In Kenya, plantain
farming can thrive in most parts of the country especially places such as
Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Nyeri, Kisii, Muranga, Embu, Nyamira, and Kirinyaga.
Time to Plant Plantain Bananas
Plantain suckers can be planted after land preparation. The land should be prepared before the rainy season and the suckers planted during the rainy season. During the first 3 to 4 months after planting, the plants should be well watered to ensure vigorous vegetative growth. This means that they should not be planted in the last month of the rainy season. This means that they can either be planted between March and April or between October and November.
However, fetch good
returns, farmers can also plant during the dry season and put the plants under
irrigation. Most farmers plant immediately when the rains start and flood the
market when the plantains mature which causes the prices to be very low.
Planting during the dry season or in the middle of the rainy season puts farmers
in a better proposition since they will harvest they plantain off-season and
hence get high prices.
Weeding and fertilizer application
Weeds can compete for nutrients with
plantain plants slowing down their growth. Constant weeding is hence important.
Chemical weed control is, however, not recommended.
The application of fertilizers will be
based on soil fertility. To know the soil fertility, a soil test is recommended
before planting. If the application of fertilizers is necessary, it should be
applied in the right proportions. Manure should be added regularly to improve
soil fertility. Mulching should also be applied since it not also minimizes
water loss through evaporation but also improves the soil fertility when the
Maturity and Harvesting
Plantain fruits take
between 8 to 10 months to mature and be ready for harvest. Harvesting is done
when the plants begin to ripen. A bunch ripens within one week. The plant
produces more fruits throughout the entire season. The fruits should be harvested
carefully so as not to hurt the fruits.
The profitability depends on how they are maintained. The demand for plantain has been increasing over the years and there is always a ready market for the fruits. In Kenya, the consumption of plantain fruits is high. Farmers can either sell the fruits in the local market, to companies that process plantain into flour or export to the international market. In East Africa, South Africa, and Asia, the market for plantain is large and is increasing over the years.
Cigar end rot is a disease
that can ruin your banana farming venture. It is prevalent in almost all banana
growing tracts. It affects the developing fingers which results in the tip ends
of the fingers drying up. The ends resemble the greying ash of a cigar.
Affected fingers are rejected in the market and hence can result in huge
losses. It is therefore important to control the disease before its too late.
The fungal disease can also attack ripening banana fruits making a dry rot to
develop at the flower ends. During transportation or storage, cigar end rot can
progress to the entire fruit. This disease is common when there is high
Disease Cycle of Cigar end rot
The pathogen gets into the banana finger through the flower resulting in the formation of a dry rot that spreads to immature banana fingers. Fungal spores/ conidia are spread by air currents and the days mainly occur in the early days of fruit formation. The infection spreads slowly as the fruit develops leading to skin blackening. With time, the tips of the infected fingers are fully covered with a powdery mass of spores. Cigar end rot is common in plantations with excessive shade and high altitude areas with moist conditions.
Common Signs & Symptoms
Presence of black necrosis which spreads from the perianth to the tip of
Dry rot develops on the pulp of the infected banana fruit. At times, the rot
can spread even up to 2 centimeters from the tip of the fingers.
The wrinkled necrotic tissue eventually becomes completely covered with the
mycelia of the fungi.
The entire finger can get rotten especially when the emerging fingers are
The formed fungal spores are hyaline, oblong to cylindrical. These spores are mostly in small groups.
Since they are asexual spores, conidia are borne at the ends of tapering phialides.
The dormant mycelia are the primary source of inoculum while air and soil-borne conidia are the secondary sources of inoculum. Epidemiology
High humidity ranging from 90-92%, high rainfall and low temperatures, and weak plants provide an ideal environment for disease development.
Management of Cigar end Rot Disease
Farmers should use healthy and disease-free and resistant plants.
Filed sanitation should be maintained at all times. Since the disease is carried by an alternate host, all potential hosts of the fungus should be removed from the banana plantation immediately. Dead, hanging leaves should be removed from the plants to lower the inoculum level.
Once the fruits have been formed, the perianth and pistil should be removed immediately. Infected fingers should be removed and destroyed.
Enough aeration should be ensured in the plantation by minimizing the overcrowding of the banana plants.
Polythene sleeves should be placed over the stems before the fingers emerge.
Maturing stems should be constantly bagged.
The bunches should be sprayed with copper fungicides to prevent disease formation.
To minimize the chances of post-harvest infestation, ripening room and packing stations should be kept clean.
controlled, cigar end rot can result in huge losses. Over the past few years,
the occurrence of the disease has increased simply because farmers are unable
to employ proper management techniques. Healthy and disease-resistant varieties
are what anyone should consider planting.
Early symptoms appear on the third or fourth leaf from the top. There are small spindle shaped spots on foliage with grayish and yellowish halo running parallel to veins. A small number of these enlarge, become oval; the colour also changes to dark brown. Still later, the center of the spot dies, turning light grey surrounded by a brown ring. In severe cases, numerous spots coalesce, killing large parts of the leaf.
For effective control of the disease make sure that the farm has improved drainage, control of weeds, removal of diseased suckers and adopting correct spacing. Also copper based fungicides spray is recommended.
Panama or Fusarium Wilt
It’s a fungal disease mostly common in poorly drained soils. Initial symptoms are yellowing of lower leaves, including leaf blades and petioles.
For effective control of panama disease plant cultivars that are resistant to the disease, make sure drainage of the soil is excellent and in case there is serious infestation in the farm uproot and burn the affected plants. Always ensure your suckers and tissues cultures come from certified nurseries.
Banana bract mosaic virus (BBMV)
Its symptoms are spindle shaped pinkish to reddish streaks on the pseudo stem and midrib. Typical mosaic streaks on bracts, peduncle and fingers observed.
It survives and spreads through aphid vectors. It’s controlled by uprooting and destruction of affected plants together with their rhizomes.
Banana streak disease
Its symptoms are yellow streaking of leaves which become necrotic producing a black streaked appearance in older leaves.
Its spread through infected planting materials and mealy bugs.
For effective control, destroy the affected plants, use clean planting materials and control the vectors namely mealy bugs.
Infectious Chlorosis (CMV)
It’s a viral disease.
Its symptoms are yellowish green patches and thickening of veins. Leaf sheaths also pull away from the pseudo stem easily. It manifests itself at all stages of crop growth. Due to repeated use of suckers from infected plants it leads to gradual decrease in yield and quality.
For effective control destroy all affected plants and always plant tissues and suckers which are disease free and from certified nurseries.
Bunchy top virus\ Curly top
Symptoms occur as prominent dark green streaks on the petiole and midrib along the leaf veins. Petioles fail to elongate. Leaves are reduced in size, chlorotic, stand upright and become brittle. Flowers display mottled and streaked discoloration.
For effective control of the disease, destroy all the affected plants and control the banana aphid vector.
Symptoms at the initial stages represent small circular black spots develop on the affected leaves. These spots enlarge in size turning to brown colour. The skin of the fruit turns black and shrivels and becomes covered with characteristic pink acervuli. It affects the whole finger and later the disease spreads and affects the whole bunch.
Its spread through conidia of the fungi and numerous insects which frequently visit banana flowers and also spread the disease.
Its effectively controlled by removal of decaying leaves and remaining floral parts and also avoid damage to the banana tissue during harvest, packaging and storage.
You can plant short-term crops, annual crops, legumes such as beans, and groundnuts or you can plant vegetables. This is what is referred to as inter-cropping and the crop you plant is referred to as an inter-crop. These can be planted at the same time with the bananas or within days.
Always consider the Spacing
As you plant these crops, make sure the cover crop is not too close to the planting hole where tissue culture banana seedling is. Leave about a foot especially for beans, which can grow from the hole in which it was planted, entangle and suffocate the young banana seedling.
If you want to have longer term intercrops, such as coffee or pineapples, these can be planted either before or after the planting of the tissue culture garden. Whereas it is fine to intercrop bananas with a perennial crop such as coffee or pineapples or cocoa, in case you want to do this, the spacing will need to be increased accordingly from the standard (2.5m-3m).
The spacing must be increased from 3m to between 3.5m-4.5m to allow more light penetration to reach the perennial intercrop (say coffee, cocoa or pineapples) when they have established.
If the distance between different stools is too small or standard (2.5m-3m), when the bananas grow, their leaves will shade off the intercrop and it will suffer from lack of sufficient light to manufacture its own food, and to grow healthy and give good yield.
Whereas it is fine to intercrop with a perennial crop, you need to do this only if your primary enterprise is the intercrop rather than bananas.
In case your primary or focus enterprise is bananas, it is advisable that inter-cropping be done with only short-term crops, and this can be done for two seasons, after which the banana canopy (leaves) will have closed up. After the first year, your efforts should shift to mulching the plantation for better soil nutrition and health.
Like animals, bananas need excellent care if they are to give you good returns—thus, you will need to invest in mulching your plantation—I mean thorough mulching.
Mulching has several purposes: controls weed growth, protects the soil against heavy rainfall and intensive sunshine, prevents erosion in plantations on steep slopes, provides organic matter to the soil, stimulates root development, improves soil drainage, cools the soil, increases soil porosity (water and air penetration), and supports abundance of beneficial soil organisms such as earth worms and some useful fungi and bacteria, thereby improving overall soil health.
Bananas are heavy feeders and need a lot soil nutrients and water if they are to yield well. Thus, mulching helps in providing these soil nutrient and water requirements.
Due to high cost of buying and transporting mulching materials, it is important to use grass cleared during field preparation; use materials obtained from the intercrop; materials obtained from the plantation itself such as leaves, pseudo stem, corms; use organic matter near the plantation such as chicken droppings, pig and cow dung if you keep some animals.
Also, you can grow grasses such as elephant grass, Guatemala grass, and Kikuyu grass for your own mulch. The grass can both feed your animals as well as provide mulch for your plantation.
Not too close
Irrespective of the good roles of mulching, it is known to facilitate multiplication of pests and spread of some soil born diseases of bananas. It also encourages roots to grow upwards from the soil, resulting in hanging mats, which eventually can topple especially during stormy rains.
The phenomenon of banana plants becoming shallow rooted and hanging near the surface of the ground is called ‘high mats’. The moment it sets in, that marks the end of your enterprise as weevils will attack it too. Thus, never mulch too close to the plant itself when it has already fully established.
A young tissue culture seedling needs mulch around it, but an established banana mat does not, as its roots are already well established. Thus, always keep the mulch, and manure application away from the banana mat by about 2-3ft. The roots of the banana are long and can search for nutrients from a distance, thus do not worry that your plants will not get the nutrients.
The enterprise starts giving early returns before the bananas start yielding and start giving returns.
2. Weed control in a newly established plantation is easier as you kill two birds with one stone, that is weed the beans and the banana plantation too.
3. The soil is protected against soil erosion, cover crop is used.
4. If a legume such as beans is used, it adds nitrogen to the soil making it more fertile.
5. If crop residues from the inter-cropping are used to mulch the crop, it improves soil nutrients and adds organic matter.
Disadvantages of Inter-cropping
Soil nutrient depletion,
Competition with bananas,
May spread diseases and pests
Damaging and injuring banana roots when digging in the garden, among others
It is, therefore, advisable that you do it only for the first year of plantation establishment, unless the inter-crop is your major enterprise.
Bananas are Kenya’s number one fruits. In some parts of Kenya, banana is a staple food. Of recent, whereas the banana is the favorite food, the crop has been faced by many challenges ranging from diseases and pests. Tissue Culture banana are affected by bacterial wilt disease that is today known to everybody that grows or has ever grown bananas. The weevils are also well known.
For the case of diseases, they are mainly transported from one garden/farm to another through picking young suckers for planting into a new garden.
Whereas you may see the plant and think it is clean or has no disease, because you cannot see the disease-causing agents with your eyes, you will be introducing the disease to your new garden. It is against this background that tissue culture planting materials are becoming the favorite planting materials for farmers who intend to grow bananas commercially.
What is tissue culture?
Tissue culture is the science of multiplying clean disease-free planting materials of different crops and you have many identical copies of the same variety without changing the taste and any other physical attribute of the plant.
This work is done in agricultural laboratories and then the plants are raised in nursery beds where farmers can buy them ready for planting.
When you plant these tissue culture seedlings of bananas, you can be sure that you are starting off with clean seedlings rather than planting what you are not sure about.
Consult any farmer that has grown them before and you will discover that they grow very fast, faster than the suckers which are picked from an old garden, and they yield earlier (between eight and 12 months from planting depending on variety), and that they yield bigger bunches.
Because they are small, tissue culture seedlings are more convenient to transport. They will grow uniformly, and you can plant as many acres of a garden of the same variety unlike the old method of picking suckers from a neighbor’s garden where you may not get enough of the same variety and in most cases, you can pick wrong varieties.
Procedure of planting tissue culture banana seedlings
Tissue culture banana seedlings are bought when they are ready to be planted in the garden, so you need to have your garden ready by the time you go to pick them from us. After your field is prepared, you dig the holes (1.5-2ft x 1.5-2ft x 1.5-2ft). The deep hole helps reduce formation of high mat and risk of the plants toppling (falling) in the advent of wind.
Rows should be in straight lines and if on a hill side, planting should be along the contours to minimize soil erosion.
As you dig the hole, the soil you remove is separated, top soil (black) separate and subsoil (red soil) separate.
After that, you put well decomposed manure (three to five kilograms) in each hole and you can add one hoe-full of the red soil and mix properly.
Do not return too much soil in the hole (so do not refill the hole). When all the holes are ready, and with manure in, you then can pick the plants from the company selling them and transport them straight to your garden.
If you cannot plant on the same day, you can off load the plants carefully and keep them under shade for planting the next day, but make sure you water them that evening.
Planting Tissue Culture banana
Planting should never be done in a field that already has bananas. This to avoid pests and diseases. Planting should therefore be done in a clean field preferably a virgin one where bananas have not been planted in the last 2-3 years.
The exercise of planting tissue culture banana involves splitting of the polythene paper pot holding each while holding the soil carefully. Then, using your hand or a simple garden tool such as a panga, make a smaller hole in the manure/soil mixture at the bottom of the hole and place the seedling in this small hole.
Then compact the soil by pressing using your hands to make the plant hold firm in the soil.
Water the plant with about half-a litre of water and if possible mulch around the plant with grass inside the big hole (mulching could be done before the plants are brought when you are preparing the holes after putting manure/soil mixture).
Depending on its size, the seedling will most likely remain deep in the hole but this is okay.
The remaining big hole will serve to collect any rain water and other soil nutrients brought by runoff to feed this plant and make it grow healthy. If the season is dry, check on your plants regularly and water them, if necessary.
If you are planting say 1 acre, the recommended number of plants is 450 plants but for a higher plant population and for commercial purposes, you can plant 640 plants per acre.
If you plant 450 plants per acre, the distance between holes is 3 metres by 3 metres. If you choose to plant 640 plants per acre, the plant spacing is 2.5 by 2.5 metres.
If you need Tissue culture banana seedlings, don’t hesitate, contact us today.
In Kenya, bananas are one of the most common fruits. Banana farming is one of the most lucrative sources of income for farmers with more than 10M tons being produced in East Africa where most of them are grown by small-scale farmers.
Banana in farming in Kenya is in most cases grown in Eastern, Central, Western as well as coastal regions. The excess bananas are sold in local market for cooking or as fruits when ripe. However, farmers in Kenya continue to suffer due to poor harvest and through transportation as bananas require intensive care while transporting. However, bananas can be added value and expand their demand and value. Some of the value addition that we recommend are very simple and can be done by the farmers at the farm as they require less time and other factors of production and the profit is great. Below are some of the value additions that we recommend;
Farmers in Kenya, can process banana to make banana flour. The banana flour has great potential for commercialization due to its numerous uses and health benefits. The banana flour can either be fortified or used as it is to make nutritious porridge and when mixed with other flours it can make a variety of dishes such as chapati, mandazi and banana cakes.
Remove green bananas from the bunch.
Slice into small pieces with the peelings so as to maintain the nutrients in the peels.
Sun-dry on the rack, until 10% moisture content is achieved. You can test by gently pressing the cuttings.
Mill and sift
Package and store in a closed, dry place.
Bananas can be used to make crips just like we make potato crisps. If you are a farmer and you can manage to make crisps, you will smile all the way to the bank.
Pill green bananas
Chop your bananas
Dipfry the chopped pieces
Pack and label them.
Sometimes when you have a lot of bananas, they overripe and we are tempted to throe them away. This should not always happen as with the most basics of equipment; a farmer can turn his or her bananas to a sweet and enjoyable jam. Bananas with sweet taste, fine flavor and texture can be processed into excellent jam right in the farmer’s kitchen, both for domestic and commercial use.
Mash the bananas and put in a heavy saucepan with lemon juice, and honey.
Heat the mixture until it simmers over medium heat and then turn to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
Turn off the heat and let it cool until it is cool enough to taste.
Let the jam cool completely to room temperature – it will thicken up as it cools.
Package and store in the fridge for a week or less.
As a farmer, you can experiment with various flavours like vanilla, cloves or cinnamon depending on the tastes of your customers.
It can be hot sometimes in Kenya and we all enjoy fruit juices. However, getting a fruit juice that is fresh and free from chemicals is hard. Banana juice/smooth can be very tasty, refreshing as well as healthy.
Put ripe sweet bananas into a blender.
Cover blender and run it on low for 10 seconds.
Put orange juice into a small bowl or a cup.
Add honey to the cup.
Stir to mix them well.
Add the honey mixture to the blender.
Cover the blender and run it on low for 30 seconds.
Package and store the juice in dry cool place
Bananas can also be used with other products to make sweets, biscuits, wine, beer as well as sauce. By so doing, farmers can earn more money and satisfy different tastes of consumers who do not like eating raw bananas. To improve their bargaining power farmers should be organized into grower’s associations. Establishing factories to process bananas into various products; improvement of infrastructure to ease transportation of bananas. There is also need for government and other shareholders to help farmers with knowledge and finances and empower them in this world of bananas agribusiness.
The banana is one of the most produced and commercialized fruits in the world. Suckers spring up around the main plant. The eldest sucker replaces the main plant when it fruits and dies, and this process of succession continues indefinitely. Tender, smooth, oblong or elliptic, flesh-stalled leaves numbering 4 or 5 to 15, are arranged spirally, and can be up to 2.7 m long and 60 cm wide. The inflorescence, a transformed wing point, is a terminal spike, shooting out from the heart in the tip of the stem.
Altitudes – Altitudes of below 1800 m above sea level are generally recommended for the production of bananas.
Temperature – For optimal growth, bananas require a warm humid climate. An average temperature of 20°C to 30°C is required. Below 20°C, normal plant growth is retarded. Lacatan and Valery tolerates cold weather better than other varieties. Cooler areas (higher altitudes) slow down plant development and the inflorescence may also fail to emerge.
Rainfall – Bananas can grow well with an annual rainfall of 1000 to 2500 mm. optimal yields require a well distributed annual rainfall of 1400 mm or more, without long dry spells.
Soils – Bananas can be grown in a wide range of soils as long as there is good drainage and adequate fertility. They can tolerate short periods of flooding but do require good soil aeration. Light to medium, well drained loam soil is the best. Fertile deep soils rich in humus should be chosen wherever possible. For best growth, a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 is recommended.
The spacing depends on the variety, soil fertility level, and rainfall (water availability). The following spacing is recommended under a five-year cycle on a fertile soil with adequate rainfall:
Short variety (Dwarf Cavendish, Giant Cavendish) 2.5m × 3m.
A planting hole measuring 90 cm ×90 cm × 60 cm is recommended although this may vary depending on water availability. In dry and semi arid areas it is recommended to use larger holes measuring 90 cm × 90 cm × 60 cm. the topsoil and the subsoil should be kept separately. Mix the topsoil with one bucket (about 20 kg) of well decomposed manure and 150 g of TPS. Refill the hole with the top soil first followed by the sub soil.
To ensure good anchorage, a sucker or a corm with the eyes facing upward should be placed 30 cm deep in the planting hole. A heavy cover of mulch should be placed around each plant to conserve soil moisture. Under rain fed conditions, planting should be carried out only at the onset of the rains. However, if irrigation water is available, planting can be done throughout the year.
The time for planting to maturity of a banana depends on area and variety. A plant takes roughly 8 to 12 months to mature. Maturity indices vary widely among varieties. Angularities or fullness of fingers, as well as color change are some of the standard criteria used. Immature bananas are very angular but fill out to a rounded shape at full maturity.
Fruits are ready for harvesting 90 – 150 days after fingers start to form. Fingers are considered mature for harvest when they are ¾ round (75% maturity)
Thanks to increasing demand and enticing market costs, banana farming is gaining momentum. till recently, use of standard suckers as planting material has been the sole choice in banana farming. This methodology is most popular by several farmers. As a result, it needs less inputs and therefore the suckers are often planted forthwith within the field. However, the most plight with this sort of planting system is that the bananas simply suffer from pests and diseases like wilt disease, Sigatoka and microorganism Xanthomonas wilt (BXW).
Banana weevils and nematodes also are common in crops planted from suckers. moreover, virus like banana streak and clustered high sickness also are unfold through suckers. Given these inadequacies, the standard banana farming ends up in high mortality rates within the field. If they establish, they take long to mature and therefore the yield is often low. To deal with this downside, tissue-culture bananas are introduced.
Tissue-culture technique, well-known as micro-propagation, permits multiplication of uniform and top-quality plant clones since they inherit the properties of the parent plant physically and genetically. Through this method, additional saplings are made inside a brief time while not the method of pollination. As a result, healthy, virus-free and uniform seedlings are made. however most of the people mistake tissue-culture for genetically changed product.
Development of tissue-culture bananas
Tissue-culture plantlets are made below sterile conditions in an exceedingly laboratory for a few weeks. The plantlets are then hardened in an exceedingly greenhouse for 6 weeks. Notably, tissue culture races the multiplication method considerably and up to two thousand. Healthy bananas are often made from one shoot through this methodology. standard bananas, on the opposite hand, manufacture ten suckers in six months.
Similarly, tissue-culture bananas manufacture fruits in 340 days as compared to 420 days for normal bananas. The common hectare yield for tissue-culture bananas is 30-40 tons, doubly the yield for ancient breeds. Uniform growth and virtually synchronized maturity can facilitate correct management of harvests, improve quality of the merchandise and facilitate estimate a stronger output price.
Production and Market of Tissue-Culture Banana
Production and selling of tissue-culture bananas are so additional economical. To reap full edges from the tissue-culture technique, a farmer should have giant quantities of unpolluted and superior planting material, promote smart farm hygiene practices through correct management of the crop. This can decrease the yield losses thanks to pests and diseases.
Further benefits accruing from the prevalence of the planting TC banana is its early mature and maturing amount, larger bunch weights and the next annual yield per unit of land. Standard planting materials carry pests and diseases from the mother plant. However, there are means that to scale back cuss load before planting.
Tissue-culture plantlets, on the opposite hand, are free from pests, plant and most microorganism pathogens. If they need been properly indexed, they ought to even be freed from viruses. However, they’re simply infected with pests and diseases if transplanted in troubled soils.
Tissue-culture plantlets are dearer than standard planting materials and will not be promptly accessible, as several counties don’t have the facilities to supply them. Moreover, the number of cultivars sold-out by the laboratories is mostly restricted. Tissue-culture plantlets conjointly need acceptable management practices right when being transplanted to the sphere.
Growing Tissue-Culture Bananas
The farm must have the correct conditions for the expansion of bananas, that act from associate altitude of one, 800 meters higher than water level and a minimum rain of 1000mm per annum, that is especially essential throughout flowering. Farmers in low rain areas ought to make sure that irrigation is completed throughout. Soils ought to be fertile and well drained to avoid water work.
Farmers will get these plantlets from licensed nurseries half a month before planting, pits of 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet ought to be ready. Dirt ought to be separated and well rotten manure mixed with the soil, fertilizer and therefore the suggested nematicide. The banana hole ought to be stuffed with the mixture, and therefore the plantlets planted 30cm deep within the hole.
The soil ought to then be firmed. Dry mulches ought to be put to retain wet whereas significant banana stems ought to be supported to avoid injury. Recent pathological leaves ought to be removed because of de-leafing ensuring healthy growth. Harvesting begins when 15-18 months, and a light-weight shiny look means the banana is prepared for harvest.
Harvesting ought to be delicate to avoid bruising of the bananas. The fruit ought to be quickly hold on in an exceedingly cool, dry place wrapped in banana leaves or grass to avoid bruising. If for export, they ought to be washed employing a disinfectant and branded. it’s apparent that tissue-culture bananas have several benefits over standard suckers. However, there are hurdles that limit widespread uptake and best use of tissue-culture technology among granger farmers.
Distribution systems of tissue-culture plantlets to farmers is one key obstacle. Plantlets are typically distributed in giant quantities at supported costs by varied development partners, however this is often not property within the long-term. Tissue-culture plantlets are fragile, and their thriving depends on smart management by nursery operators and farmers, particularly within the early stages. To add it up, Kenya’s comparatively stable economy and every year spherical season holds nice potential for the native and export markets.
Tissue-culture bananas will facilitate increase production of this in style fruit. solely four per cent of banana exports originate from continent whereas the rest of the plantlets is big within the continent. This inequality may be a wonderful chance for farmers to produce their fruits to greater markets.