One of the new babana variety planted in Malaysia are Cavendish Variety that is being planted on a few sites such in Selangor, Pahang dan Johore. This variety planted in a dense stands allowing certain pathogens and pests present in this region of coevolution to reveal their epidemic for the fist time. The recent 'Blood disease of banana' or also called as 'Penyakit Moko' attacked the banana seriously in 2006 after major flood occurred. The control measured are from the use of planting material to the farm sanitation and crop rotation system introduced. These are as a rotation crop after old palm oil. The plantations are severely affected by Fusarium wilt. The plantations were established with no concern for this disease.
Banana growing system in Malaysia are as Monocrop and Mixed Planting System. It was known as one of the largest fruit tree grown after durian, pineapple, rambutan and papaya. The banana is the second most widely cultivated fruit in which it cover about 29,270 ha with a total production almost 300,000 metric tones in 2011. About 50% of the banana growing land is cultivated with Pisang Berangan and the Cavendish type. Most of local banana are consumed as fresh fruit and portion of the fresh banana are for fried banana (or locally known as Pisang Goreng). The warm pisang goreng are consumed with 'sambal kicap' or as whole fruits.
From my observation since 2006, the banana production in Malaysia has decreased because of an increasing threat of dangerous diseases (particularly Fusarium wilt) caused by Ralstonia spp especially on Southern Peninsular of Johore. The high labor costs of production, poor quality diseased fruits and the marketing issues create havoc and cautions or more awareness for the newcomers to grow banana in Malaysia. However, banana is still popular fruit grown and contributes about 16% of the total fruit production areas. The tissue culture planting material seems to overcome the shortage of certified banana planting material from relevant diseases and pathogens.
In Malaysia, the banana cultivation is largely a smallholder enterprise where farms are small, unorganized and farmers often adopt inferior technology. However from my observation, this production practice often results in low yield and inferior quality. Poor quality has been a major constraint to export of fresh fruits, including banana and other mixed fruits. It is therefore necessary to adopt good production practices and inefficient postharvest handling to ensure consistent supply of high quality banana for export. The new trend of banana planting with larger scale commenced in private estate sector by major GLC's and new entrepreneurs. There is also little research on banana. Local agriculture at the village level provided all the fruit needed for local markets, and the village production was left to its own devices, with research going to rubber, oil palm and later to rice. Although some academic research on bananas exists at universities and at the Malaysia Research and Development Authority (MARDI) but there are more studdy in future about banana growing agronomic practices in Malaysia to carru-out.
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