Introduction to cultivation of Banana:

In this article we will cover different aspects of cultivation of banana. By the end of this article you can able to cultivate the banana plant. To know the future and scope of banana cultivation you must know about the demand increasing for banana as food.

The following represents nutritional values of the common eating banana:

Nutritional value of bananas per 100g fresh weight of the edible parts

ContentsAmounts
Water75 g
Edible Carbohydrates20 g
Raw fat0.3 g
Raw fibres0.3 g
Vitamin A400 I.E.
Vitamin C10 mg
Energy460 KJ
Reduction before eating33%
Table of Nutritional value of bananas

Flour is produced from both plantains and eating bananas in many regions, which can then be used in soups, baking, or as a drink. The banana can also be used to make vinegar and to brew alcoholic beverages. The stamina flowers can be used as a vegetable, after briefly heating them in salty water (to remove the bitterness). Bananas can also be used as a starch-rich animal feed (pig farming). The fresh leaves are high in protein content, and are preferred for their taste by cattle and chickens. The leaves are also commonly used as packing material and for roofing. Along with the pseudo-stem they offer excellent mulching material.So this is the scope and future of cultivation of banana or banana farming.

Aspects of plant cultivation: Cultivation of Banana

banana farming land

Site requirements for cultivation of banana

The ancestors of our commercial bananas originated from the Malaysian peninsula, New Guinea and South-East Asia. They grow in alluvial and volcanic soils, as well as in river deltas and forest perimeters, where the soil is rich in organic material. They are part of both young and old secondary forest formations, where they are located either at the top of the middle of the forest, according to variety and development stage. This means that they are more or less adaptable to shade, according to variety. In comparison with eating bananas, plantains require more soil fertility. They grow in the upper layers of natural vegetation, therefore requiring more light, and cannot tolerate extended periods of shadow. Commercially used varieties cannot endure stagnant water conditions, and are susceptible to windbreak (especially when not grown in agroforestry system).

Seeds and seedlings

Bananas are reproduced vegetatively. In accordance with availability, required amounts and transport possibilities, the following are suitable:

  • Whole rhizomes
  • Rhizome pieces
  • Shoots with inflorescence in the pseudo-stem
  • Shoots lacking inflorescence in the pseudo-stem

For the cultivation of banana Use whole rhizomes is laborious. It requires a large amount of starting material and generates high transport costs. Rhizome pieces and shoots lacking inflorescence in the pseudo-stem are less expensive.
It is very important that the shoots are undamaged, and originate from nematode free plantations. Prior to planting, the roots and any damaged spots should be removed with a sharp knife.

Methods of planting

In the cultivation of banana the distances between plants are determined by the variety, soil conditions, and the type of planting system. Slow growing plants, such as the Dwarf Cavendish, can be planted in a density of 2500 plants/ha. The more robust Giant Cavendish, Robusta, or other strongly developing varieties are set at 600-1200 plants/ha. Experiences culled in the different regions have led to a variety of recommendations regarding the size and depth of hole required, which should be heeded. It is recommended to cover the planted rhizome with mulching.
The most suitable planting period is towards the end of the dry season, or at the beginning of the rainy season, and is also dependent upon any accompanying crops. Several seeds from different local shrubs and trees should be dropped into each plant hole. Cuttings from varieties that reproduce vegetatively can also be used (Morbus Albus, Malvaviscus arboreus, Gliricidia sepium, etc.). In regions of intensive cultivation of Banana, it is important to ensure that no undesirable pesticide-drift from conventional neighboring plantations occurs. This is especially the case when aero spraying takes place. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to plant high, growing hedges of sufficient depth.

Diversification Strategies

On conventional plantations, bananas are grown over large areas as part of a monoculture. A wide variety of combination possibilities is available for organic cultivation, especially in connection with permanent crops and agroforestry systems. The following recommendations pertain to the common eating banana.

Due to their high demands on soil, an intensive accompanying vegetation is required. With sufficient foresight and planning, this can later be used to replace the bananas. Due to the fact that specific plantation systems with a suitable variety of plants need to be established for each region, site, and even for individual plots, it is only possible to provide an overview of the basic guidelines here.

In principle, bananas can be combined with practically any type of cultivated or wild plant which has similar eco-physiological requirements. Young banana plants are excellent ”wet nurses” for other crops and forest plants, which can be planted very close to the bananas.

Examples:

1 year2 year3 year5-10 yearfrom 11 year
Maize
PapayaPapaya
BananaBananaBananaBanana
CocoaCocoaCocoaCocoaCocoa
Forest treesForest treesForest treesForest treesForest trees

2.

1 year2 year3 year5-10 yearfrom 11 year
Hibiscus
BananaBananaBananaBanana
CoffeeCoffeeCoffeeCoffeeCoffee
Forest treesForest treesForest treesForest treesForest trees

3.

1 year2 year3 year5 year6-10 yearfrom 11 year
Maize/Manioc
PineapplePineapplePineapplePineapple
BananaBananaBananaBananaBanana
Forest treesForest treesForest treesForest treesForest treesForest trees

If no other crops are to be integrated into the system, then it is sufficient to combine the bananas with forest trees and native fruit trees. If other crops are to be introduced onto an existing monoculture plantation, then especially the fruit carrying pseudo-stems will need to be thinned out. Depending upon which plantation system is used, the planting times for the different crops need to be coordinated, to ensure each receives its optimum location. Each crop can thereby be planted as if in a one-crop system. The types of maintenance employed are most important in this approach. Native species with varying heights, as well as trees that can withstand frequent cutting – such as Inga ssp., Erythrina ssp. Etc, depending on the site – which has been tested in standard agroforestry systems, should be used as forest trees. A wide variety of species and high density of plants should be striven for. The high plant density can be useful for example in suppressing the growth of other vegetation (like grasses etc.). It also provides sufficient mulching material, which needs to be continually cut and added to the soil. Satisfactory banana production can only be achieved with a large amount of organic material produced on the plantation itself.

How banana is cultivated?

Nutrients and organic fertilization management for Cultivation of Banana

Nutrient requirements

On conventional plantations in prime locations, bananas are planted over many years as monocultures. This results in a continual loss of organic material, and to a general degeneration of the soil, which then needs to be compensated for with a high input of mineral fertilizers.
The following ”nutrient depletion” results for each 1000 kg bananas (in kg):

N [kg]P [kg]K [kg]Ca [kg]Mg [kg]
20.350.40.5
Nutrient depletion in kg

Understandably, the amounts of nutrients recommended vary quite strongly, depending on which literature one consults. The following refers to individual plant parts:
Required amounts of nutrients (in kg/ha) for a harvest of 1000 kg/ha of bananas:

Plant partN [kg]P [kg]K [kg]Ca [kg]
Pseudo-stem0.960.162.50.56
Leaves6.380.610.53.43
bunch2.130.264.530.1
Total9.461.0317.64.2
Required amounts of nutrients (in kg/ha)

Organic fertilization strategies for cultivation of banana

These values for nutrient depletion and fertilization are given from a viewpoint of conventional plantation systems. They are not capable of solving the problems of decreasing yield and soil fertility. The majority of banana varieties cultivated for export purposes require a high soil quality. In natural forest ecosystems, they appear towards the beginning of the new growth, and must be replaced by other species about every 10-15 years. If this is not carried out on the plantation, then sooner or later a crisis will occur, which can only be solved in the short term by applying fertilizers and pesticides.

Regular application of organic material gained from cutting work helps to maintain a layer of humus and activity in the soil. This includes adding dead leaves and pseudo-stems grown on the plantation as mulching material. It is important that the material is spread evenly throughout the entire plantation. Organic manure should only be seen as an additional fertilizer, and not as the main source of nutrients for the bananas. These measures will suffice to maintain the fertility of the soil on site suited to growing bananas, despite continual harvests.

What is the planting distance for banana?

Varieties of banana may vary in size and need to be planted accordingly. Most varieties of banana need at least 12 feet or more of space. A smaller number of varieties can be planted 10 to 11 feet apart from each other. In a mature mat, the roots can extend outward for up to 18 feet.

What is the best time to plant a banana tree?

The right time to cultivate a banana tree is in spring and summer. Prepare your soil in advance by incorporating plenty of compost or manure and irrigate thoroughly a few days prior to planting. If you are growing only a few banana plants, place them around four meters apart.

Biological methods of plant protection

In the cultivation of banana diseases are major factor for yield loss in commercial cultivation

1. Diseases

The most important diseases in conventional banana plantations are:

  • Panama disease (Fusarium exosporium f. sp. cubense)
  • Black and yellow Sigatoka disease (Mycosphaerella musicola, (Mycospheerella fijiensis)
  • Root rot (Poria sp., Pythium sp., Armillaria mellea, Rhizoctonia solani)
  • Bacterial rot (Pseudomonas solanacearum)
  • Rhizome rot (Erwinia carotovora)
  • Virus diseases (Mosaic virus, banana bunchy top virus, infectious chlorosis, etc.)

The above-mentioned diseases occur mainly in conventional plantation systems and are combated by using resistant varieties (Cavendish instead of Gros Michel), or in conventional farms by spraying with mineral oil and fungicide by airplane. In an organic plantation system, these phytosanitary problems must be prevented by cultivation methods and also the use of resistant plants.

2. Pests

The most important pests also occur mainly on monoculture plantations, these are:

  • Root nematodes
  • Banana root borer (Cosmopolites sordidus)

The exclusive use of healthy seeds, and the application of appropriate measures, offer the most effective preventative and thus alternative methods of controlling insects and nematodes. The application of waste from extensive shrimp farms in Ecuador (shrimp shells) has shown good results against nematodes besides being a good organic fertilizer.

In conventional plantations, the bunches are often protected by covering them with polyethylene sacks. When protective bags are used in organic systems, the following must be heeded: That the insides are pesticide-free (quite normal on conventional plantations), and that the plastic coverings are bio-degradable.

Monitoring and Maintenance for Cultivation of Banana

  1. Crop Establishment

Around 4-6 months after the bananas and additional crops have been planted, a primary selective weed regulation should be performed. The actual time depends largely on the type of additional crops (annual crops, annual or biannual under seeds), and also from the preliminary condition of the plot. Strong growths of Gramineae and Cyperaceae will occur in soils already degraded. These should be pulled up, and exchanged for seeds of the Canavalia ensiformis, Crotalaria sp., or other similar under seeds from non-creeping plants. Foliage regulation consists in the main of cutting back the blossoms and removing grasses, as mentioned above, which are both then left on the surface as mulching material.

Surplus shoots need to be regularly cut away from the planted bananas. Three shots should be left, which can then grow until they are ripe. Thereafter, only one shoot is left remaining, so that after one year three times the density has been achieved, which is then maintained.

The accompanying vegetation (bushes and trees which can be cut) is cut back, and the resulting material chopped up and spread around the surface as mulching material. This should be carried out once or twice a year, according to growth. This cutting regulation results in a continual supply of organic material in varying consistency, and also increases the amount of available light, thus stimulating new growth.

Trees that cast no foliage (e.g.. Inga ssp, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena leucocephala), should be cut back at the banana plant’s height once a year so that around 15% of their leaves remain. Depending on which variety of bananas have been planted, more or less shade can then be controlled. The tall varieties such as Red, Green Red (Manzano, Manzano Rojo), and Giant Cavendish belong to those that can cope with a lot of shade, whereas Dwarf Cavendish requires less.

2. Crop production

After around one to two years, usually no weeding activities are necessary, and pruning remains as the main work. In addition to regularly removing the shoots, the inactive leaves should also be cut away (these usually hang bent downwards). In the course of time, the plantation will tend to ”wander”, in that the original gaps between the plants change. This means that it may be necessary to remove plants that now stand too close to one another. Depending on the initial situation at the site and the type of plantation, the production of bananas is lessened by the gradual coverage of accompanying vegetation. If the plantation has been established with additional economically interesting crops, then these can continue to be harvested. If there is no relevant alternative to the banana production, then the plantation can be cleared, and newly planted. In the latter case, the farmer now has soil with improved fertility.

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Harvesting and post- harvest treatment for Cultivation of Banana

  1. Harvesting
harvested banana for market

Harvesting the banana bunches (Cultivation of Banana) is usually spread evenly throughout the whole year. A slowing down in production, or even cessation, only generally occurs at sites which experience either a noticeable drop in temperature during the winter months, or distinctive dry periods.
Whilst still green, the fruits have a distinctly edged appearance, which gradually becomes almost round as they ripen. The fruits of a bunch do not ripen at the same pace. If some fruits have begun to turn yellow on the plant, then it is already too late to transport them any great distance, as they quickly become too soft and burst. The bananas must therefore be harvested while still green. The optimal cutting stage is established by the diameter of individual fruits. To simplify the harvest, the bushes are marked with different colored bands as the fruits appear. The workers will then only cut bananas of a particular color, which are now ripe enough. Terms which characterize the thickness of the fruit, such as ”three-quarters”, ”light full threequarters”, ”full three quarters” and ”full”, are also used. The duration of a proposed transport determines in which stage a fruit destined for export is judged to be ripe.

In order to achieve a uniform ripeness during shipping, the maturity stage of an entire bunch should be as consistent as possible. Harvests are therefore usually carried out at one to two-week intervals.

The bunches are harvested by cutting them away from the plant just above where the fruit begins. The tall varieties must also be freed of their pseudo-stems, which are bent back and cut off, in order that the bunches become visible. Thereby, it is very important that the bunches do not fall, or are otherwise bumped during shipping, as this causes them to blacken and rot.

It is advisable to leave behind a ca. 2 m high stub (depending on the variety) of the pseudo-stem, because nutrients and water are still transported to the remaining shoots for several weeks, and thereby encouraged in their development. The cutaway part of the pseudo-stem has lain with the cut side facing downwards directly next to the neighboring trees. This type of mulching prevents a damaging anaerobe oxidation by butyric acid bacteria inside the stalk, and encourages an intensive stimulation of the soil flora. The remains of the stalk are then cut off at the base during the next bout of maintenance work, and also lain on the ground. The large surface of the banana leaves should be trimmed away along the petiole and chopped up, in order that the secondary vegetation is allowed to develop.

2. Preparation, transport and storage

On large plantations, the harvested clusters are transported to distant packaging sites by fastening them down with ropes, or hanging them from the lorries to avoid bruising. Once there, the clusters are prepared by cutting away any badly formed fruits at their tops and base. Any leaking milk which drops onto the fruit will cause it to blacken during ripening and sale will be impossible. This can be avoided when the individual, separated bunches are washed in cold water, where they can be drained.

Conventionally, the fruit is washed with disinfectant (Na-Bisulfite, Na-Hypochlorite) and/or treated in a fungicide bath. The use of fungicides is out of the question on organic plantations. Either alum salt (potassium alum) or extracts from lemons or orange pips (kernels) can be used to disinfect. So-called crown rot (Colletotrichum musae) can be prevented by wetting the cut with vinegar.

The cleansing water that collects at preparation sites contains many organic compounds, and must, therefore, be biologically treated before allowing it to flow into a drainage ditch. Organic material that collects during preparation (e.g. unusable, damaged fruits) should be composted and returned to the soil. The ratio of harvested to exportable fruits is between 1: 1 and 1: 1.7, whereby the latter is more usual.

The individual bunches are packaged in cartons of 12 kg or 20 kg (Costa Rica), which are lined with polyethylene foil. Cooling equipment must then be used to delay the ripening process during shipping. Optimum temperatures are dependant on the variety, and vary between 12-15°C. At too low temperatures, frost damage can occur, such as lack of ripening, production of tannins, discoloring of the skins, inhibition of starch transformation as well as an increased production of ascorbic acid. An
additional delay in the ripening process can be achieved by increasing the CO2 content and reducing the O2 content of the storage room atmosphere during shipping.

3. Controlled ripening

Special warehouses must be available at the destination port (ripening plant), in order to subject the fruits to a controlled ripening process. This takes place at about 20°C and at an atmospheric concentration of 0,1% ethylene. The use of ethylene to accelerate the ripening process, as well as the use of kalinite to delay the ripening of bananas is allowed in the EEC-regulation for organic agriculture (EEC) 2092/91.

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What is the planting distance for banana?

Varieties of banana may vary in size and need to be planted accordingly. Most varieties of banana need at least 12 feet or more of space. A smaller number of varieties can be planted 10 to 11 feet apart from each other. In a mature mat, the roots can extend outward for up to 18 feet.

What is the best time to plant a banana tree?

The right time to cultivate a banana tree is in spring and summer. Prepare your soil in advance by incorporating plenty of compost or manure and irrigate thoroughly a few days prior to planting. If you are growing only a few banana plants, place them around four meters apart.

What is Denavelling in banana?

The term denavelling means the operation of removing of male buds in banana is called as denavelling. This is done for better development of fruits and increases the bunch weight.

What is Desuckering in banana cultivation?

Desuckering is critical operation which is done by removing of unwanted suckers for reducing internal competition with the main plant.