Bananas

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Bananas are tree like perennial aromatic plants with a terminal crown of large leaves that form trunk like stems and bear hanging clusters of elongated fruits. Bananas from the family of musaceae are scientifically referred to as Musa Sp. The plant can grow up to 10 - 26 feet. They are among the major cultural food crops grown mainly in the southern, western and central Uganda like Masaka, Rakai, Sembabule, Mbarara etc. Bananas are becoming a major cash crop in Uganda unlike before, they were mainly taken as food crops.

 Climate:  Bananas grow best where the relative humidity is greater than 60% and require an average annual rainfall of 1500 - 2500 mm, which is well distributed through out the year. Areas with less rainfall between 1000 – 1400 mm can also support banana production through use of drought tolerant cultivars along with water conservation practices e.g. water harvesting and making trenches in the plantation. Some types can be grown in highland areas like slopes of Mt. Elgon and Rwenzori.

 Soil 

Bananas require deep, well drained, loam soil with high humus content. Though tolerant to a wide range of soil types, textures and nutrient status, they can hardly stand poor drainage. Also highly acidic soils are not suitable for banana growing and would require considerable amounts of mineral nutrients (fertilizers) to maintain high yields.

Food Value

Bananas are amongst the most nutritious health foods. They contain 70% water, 27% carbohydrates, 1% proteins, 0.3 % fats, fiber 0.5%, ash 0.9% and vitamins 0.3. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, C and potassium. Banana contains 602 mg of potassium, 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 2 mgs of sodium, Vitamins A, B, folic Acid and vitamin C and a variety of minerals.

 

Contents

Local Names

Below is a list of names for this crop in different languages. If you want to add a name, open the editor and edit the "Local Names" section.

Varieties

Below is a list of different varieties for this crop. If you want to add a variety, open the editor and edit the "Varieties" section.

These are mainly cooked and eaten as food. They include indigenous and improved types. Examples include Mpologoma, kisansa, kibuzi, nakabululu, namaliga, mbwazirume etc.
These are eaten roasted or fried. Examples are plantains and phia 17.
These are mainly grown for beer making. Examples are kisubi, kayinja and musa. These types are drought and pest resistant and can also survive in poor soils.

Seed Preparation

Below is a list of different seed preparation techniques for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Seed Preparation" section.

Technique:

Propagation is by suckers. Choose healthy looking suckers from disease free mother plants about 3 months old, 30 – 60 cm tall. Avoid using water suckers (suckers with flat big leaves). Selected suckers should be cleaned through paring. This is done by cutting off all roots and soil + peeling off the outer layer of the corm. This is because these can act as breeding grounds for pests. Cut the leaves in a slanting manner so that the water freely slides down. Once water remains on top, the sucker may rot. Once cleaning is done, sock the suckers in organic pesticide. To make this pesticide, get human or animal urine, leave for 14 days to ferment and sock the lower banana part for 5 minutes before planting Or sock in warm water for about 5-15 minutes to kill the possible remaining pests / diseases.

Technique:

Use hot water treatment on suckers before planting to reduce the seed borne pathogens that cause diseases on plants. Follow the specified temperature and time interval in order to keep the effectiveness of the seeds to germinate. Use a good thermometer or ask for assistance from your agriculture extension worker. Plant healthy suckers from healthy mother plants.

Garden Preparation

Below is a list of different garden preparation techniques. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Garden Preparation" section.

Technique:

While choosing a site, choose the most fertile parts of the farm. Forest soil has always been regarded as suitable for banana cultivation. However, the site should have soils that are freely drained, deep, with loamy texture. If there are signs of poor drainage, dig trenches 1m deep to let the water flow. For the most suitable site, Contact an agriculture extension work for evaluation of land.

Technique:

To prepare a garden for planting bananas, slash + dig to remove weeds. Cover the grass with soil so as it turns into manure when it decays. Measure the land using ropes and pegs to identify the number of suckers needed. Dig holes about 1 month before planting. For fertile soils dig holes 75cm -90cm wide and 60 cm (2ft) deep. For stony + shallow soils, dig holes 90cm wide and 75cm deep to allow for compost. While making the pit, put the top black soil on the upper part and put the inner soil on the lower side. The idea behind is that in case of rain the topsoil is not washed away in form of erosion. The top soil should be mixed with compost and placed back in the hole. It is advisable to dig a deeper part in the middle of the pit and place the banana sucker so that it sits on a more firm ground. Also in case of rainfall, water is retained in this hole. Leave the pit for at least 3 days to cool down before planting the sucker

Fertilizer Application

Below is a list of different methods for applying fertilizer to this crop. If you want to add a method, open the editor and edit the "Fertilizer Application" section.

Technique:

After digging the pit, incase the soil is infertile, add fertilizers like rotting grass, compost and animal dung. In case cow or goat dung is to be used, put two basins and where rubbish is used, put 3 basins per pit and for the case of compost manure, add 1 tin of soil to -2 tins of 20 litres compost per hole. Mix the fertilizer with topsoil, cover with a little soil, and leave for about 3-7 days before planting the sucker. After planting don’t cover the sucker/pit completely. Leave a small gap that can store water when it rains

Technique:

Bananas take up a lot of nutrients from the soil. On average bananas remove 250kg N, 26kg P, 830kg K, 105 kg Mg and 15 kg S per hectare to yield 40 tonne / ha. The fertilizer dose depends upon the fertility of soil and amount of organic manure applied to the crop. For a good yield, 40-50 tones/ha of well-decomposed farm yard manure is incorporated into the soil. It is recommended to apply fertilizers at the 3rd, 4th and 5th month after planting

Mulching

Below is a list of different mulching techniques for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Mulching" section.

Technique:

Mulching is a protective covering of organic matter such as leaves, straw, or peat, placed around plants to prevent the evaporation of moisture, the freezing of roots, and the growth of weeds. Examples of grasses used include: spear grass locally known as lusenke, elephant grass (ebisagazi), coffee husks, teete, etc. Avoid mulching with grasses that have grown seeds as they will germinate and become a menace. Also pseudostems can be used as mulches in banana plantations. Select those from health plants and apply in the lines.

Planting and Spacing

Below is a list of different planting and spacing techniques for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Planting and Spacing" section.

Technique:

Recommended spacing is 3 by 3 m. Mix well rotted manure or compost with the top soil and return it to the hole. Plant the sucker in the middle and cover with the rest of the soil. If corms (suckers with no leaves) are planted, they should be covered by a 5cm layer of soil

Weeding

Below is a list of different weeding techniques for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Weeding" section.

Technique:

Weeding involves removal of unwanted grass types to reduce competition for light and nutrients. Weeds are habitats for pests that act as parasites and also lead to spread of diseases. To control weeds in a banana plantation, deeply dig and uproot, heap them at particular points, scatter on top of the dug parts during the dry season so that they can dry off or burry while digging. Mulch using dried grass at 6 inches thick, uproot weeds with hands to avoid disturbing feeding roots and Intercrop with leguminous crops e.g. beans to suppress them. Tips: *Weeding should be done as soon as weeds appear. This will prevent them from consuming the would be nutrients to the plant. Visit the garden regularly. Keep weeding records for future reference and use. Burry the weeds in the ground to reduce its spread and act as fertilizers. It’s important that weeding is done before weeds begin to flower.

Harvesting

Below is a list of different harvesting techniques for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Harvesting" section.

Technique:

Bananas flower 9-12 months after planting and are ready to harvest after 3 to 4 months depending on the planting materials used, type of banana, soil condition, management, weather and species. *To harvest, remove the staking stick to let it bend forwards, chop off the bunch using a sharp panga, hoe or knife while taking care not to drop and crush the fingers. Cut the bunch from psendo- stem and support it before falling to avoid damage to the banana bunch. Chop the psendo- stem, leaves and level it to the ground.

Post Harvest

Below is a list of different techniques of post harvest treatment for this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Post Harvest" section.

Technique:

Bananas are consumed in many ways depending on the variety. Other parts of the banana plant can also be put to different uses as indicated below. Cooking type: Peel while still fresh or keep for about 2 days to allow the sap flow away. Peel, wash and prepare as desired boil and serve. Boil and mix with other source to serve as katogo or boil and mash before serving. Slice and dry it properly and store in dry cool pace or grind into powder and park in bags for future use.

Technique:

Roasting type: It can be eaten raw or ripe. In case its to be eaten ripe, leave it for about 5 -7 days to ripen, peel off the covers and roast on fire or deep in cooking oil using light fire until it turns brown and soft before serving it hot or cold. Slice and dry it properly and store it in a dry place or grind into powder and park in bags for future use.

Technique:

Brewing type: Ripening methods Pit ripening: Cut the banana and dig a pit of 1m deep in the ground, warm it by burning dry banana leaves or grass inside. Put banana leaves or pawpaw leaves in the hole and place the split bunches of bananas. Cover with banana leaves and soil. Remove the soil after 2 days to allow air. It takes 5 – 7 days to ripen.

Technique:

Stall ripening: Construct a stall 1-2m high in the kitchen or out side, place bananas on top and cover with grass or banana leaves. Light fire under for 4 days to ripen. On the fifth day it’s ready. Products Juice: Unpeel into a clean big source pan or bucket, squeeze with grass and add water at the ratio of 1: 2 mixes thoroughly. Sieve using grass or clean cloth and serve fresh or store the juice in very clean containers. To extend the self life, it can be cooked before storage.

Technique:

Local beer: Grind sorghum, mix juice and water at a ratio of 1: 3 then add sorghum. Cover with banana leave for 1 -3 days. Filter and put in clean containers, ready for sale or drink as local beer locally referred to as tonto” Banana wine: To make banana wine (akaliga) ferment for 15 to 60 days before selling or drinking. Sweet type: Store mature bunches in a store or box covered with banana leaves to create warmth and quicken the ripening process. Serve when ripe and soft or mix it with cassava flour and bake into pan cakes. Avoid putting the bananas in the sun as that makes the sweet banana loss its normal taste. Better to put under a shade or in a store for 2 days before fermenting to ripen.

Technique:

For sale: Grade bananas based on maturity, size and number of fingers on each bunch. Discard over-ripe and injured fruits. Pad the bunch with banana leaves or fibres to prevent damage before sending it to the market.

Technique:

Peelings: Feed fresh or cooked peelings mixed with a little salt to animals such as cows, goat or sheep, and also can be used as mulch in the garden. Some farmers use ash from banana peels to get salt. Burning the peels when they are dry does this; get ash and filter using a banana funnel. It is then left to settle down as salt, which is very good in sauce or food. Leaves: Avoid cutting fresh young leaves from plants as this reduces the number of clusters. Use them for cooking food or feeding animals or as manure. While cutting, cut the mature side leaves and leave the middle ones to allow proper growing of the stem.

Technique:

Fibers: Used as a cooking material, crafts and roofing houses. Paper can also be made out of banana fibres. Cut fibres into 1 to 2 cm long, mix with ash and boil for eight hours. Spread out the paste and cut according to desired shape and leave to dry. To make it uniform press it. Then sale as paper sheet to get income. Stems: Cut fresh stems into pieces and give the animals.

Common Diseases

Below is a list of different techniques for prevention and management of diseases that commonly affect this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Diseases" section.

Banana bacterial wilt

Check out the page Banana bacterial wilt to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Bacteria

Symptoms:

Prevention:

Treatment:

Banana sigatoka

Check out the page Banana sigatoka to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Fungus

Symptoms:

Prevention:

Treatment:

Fusarium wilt (panama wilt)

This is a viral disease that mainly attacks apple bananas, bogoya and plantain. It causes old leaves to turn yellow, stunt and eventual death of the plant.

Check out the page Fusarium wilt (panama wilt) to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Virus

Symptoms:

Prevention:

Treatment:


Banana streak virus

Check out the page Banana streak virus to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Virus

Symptoms:

Prevention:

Uproot and cut the stem to dry.

Treatment:


Anthracnose

This is a fungal disease that creates grey wounds or cuts mainly on fruits and may cause early ripening of the fruit.

Check out the page Anthracnose to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Fungus

Symptoms:

Prevention:

Treatment:

Get a handful of marigold leaves (mukazimurofu) mix with a handful of ash, add 2mls of paraffin and ferment in 5 litres of water for 24hrs. Add I spoon of powdered soap. Sieve and spray at an interval of 7days.

Maturity Bronzing

Check out the page Maturity Bronzing to find more information about this disease and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Causes:

Stress in the outer layers of the peel followed by rapid growth of the fruit.

Symptoms:

A reddish-brown to brown discoloration of mature green bananas, which later develop into scabbiness and cracking of the banana.

Prevention:

Treatment:

Destroy rotten fruits by burning or burying

Spray the fruits with worm water of about 54degrees centigrade for 3 minutes.

Common Pests

Below is a list of different techniques for prevention and management of pests that commonly affect this crop. If you want to add a technique, open the editor and edit the "Pests" section.

Banana Weevil

These are black insects with a hard-shell, 1 -1.6 cm long when mature. The larvae is white, has no legs but with a strong pointed mouth that creates holes in the plant. The larva causes damage by feeding and burrowing in the corm which cause the corm to turn black and decay.

Check out the page Banana Weevil to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

Prevention and Control:

Treatment:

Black ants

These insects dig up the soil and expose bananas to other pests. This eventually leads them to fall off.

Check out the page Black ants to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

The banana stools may fall off.

Prevention and Control:

Maintain good hygiene by removing extra leaves, fibres and rubbish after harvesting.

Treatment:

Apply ash around the plant.

Root Knot Nematodes

Nematodes cannot be seen with naked eyes. They lead to Root knot nematodes that affect the root system.

Check out the page Root Knot Nematodes to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

Prevention and Control:

Maintain hygiene in the garden

Treatment:

Snails

Check out the page Snails to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

Prevention and Control:

Prune by removing dry fibres and banana leaves.

Treatment:

Scab Moths

These are small flying moths with a white coating like ash and black spots. They affect the fruit and cause damage by staining and putting patches on the fruit. Damaged areas have black spots. This reduces the quality of the fruits.

Check out the page Scab Moths to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

Scars that turn brownish-black on fruit skin.

Prevention and Control:

Treatment:

Monkeys

These are wild animals that mainly leave in or near forested areas and swamps. They eat and damage bananas

Check out the page Monkeys to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

wholes in banana, the whole banana may be eaten

Prevention and Control:

Go to the market and get bells or u you can make them locally like those for tieng on dogs. Trap one monkey and get the bell and tie it in its waist.

When other monkeys see the one with a bell, they run away. In the end, there will be no monkeys in the whole garden. That can chase away all the monkeys from the village.

Treatment:

Also one can use dogs to chase them

General pests

Bananas are affected with many insect types which lead to reduced yields.

Check out the page General pests to find more information about this pest and other crops and livestock affected by it.

Symptoms:

Yellowing of leaves which gradually end into wilting and drying of leaves, stems turn blackish, wholes on the leaves and stunting of the banana fruit.

Prevention and Control:

Keep the plantation clean all the time by weeding and removing extra rubish.

Treatment:

Get I small bucket of oluwoko (endod) leaves and roots+ 20 litres of cow urine + 4 tumpecos of pepper+3 spoons of obugolo (powder of dried tobacco leaves + powder of dried banana stem) + a half litre of paraffin + 4 leaves of tobacco +a small piece of soap equivalent to a match box, cut it into small pieces. Put all these in a twenty litre Jerican and cover. Keep for 14 days and sieve. Spray around the banana plants (and around the plantation) to kill all types of insects.

Credits

Below is a list of authors who contributed content to this page. If you want to add an author, open the editor and edit the "Credits" section at the bottom of the form.


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