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Sunday, January 19, 2014

General Guide in Banana Cultivation (Part 1)


Growing bananas (Musa spp) does not require much effort but to achieve high yields requires skills, dedication, and proper planting methods. Below are some pertinent guides that any Banana growers should be aware of. The list is not exhaustive and certainly requires some adjustments depending on the variety of the Bananas. Growing banana (Musa spp) are one of the most popular tropical fruits in South East Asia region include Malaysia. There are about 29,800 hectare of banana planted in 2012 in Malaysia producing about 296,900 metric tonne of fresh banana. Most local banana are for domestic market and the rest are for export especially to Singapore, Hong Kong and West Asia. The good agriculture practice (GAP) in banana plantation include all general guide on banana cultivation from land preparation and harvesting and post harvest handling to ensure good quality banana and safe for consumption.


1. Agro Climate & Soil Agro Climate

Bananas need warm subtropical climate, adequate moisture and protection from wind. Most varieties of Bananas grow best with 12 hours of bright light and high humidity of 50% or higher. The ideal temperature range is around 26-30°C (78-86F) with RH regime of 75-85%. Growth begins at 18ºC, reaches optimal growth at 27ºC and stop entirely when temperature reaches 38ºC. Although Bananas grow best in bright sunlight, high temperature will scorch leaves and fruit.
For best appearance and higher photosynthetic rate, wind protection is advisable. High velocity wind which exceeds 80km per hour damages the leaf. Bananas are also vulnerable to being blown over due to the weight of the stem of fruit. Thus, Propping should be done during the last few months of its life cycle before harvest.







2. Soil

Bananas need rich, moisture and well-drained soil with 40% clay, 75% silt, 85% loam. Bananas prefer a more acidic soil with pH between 6-7.5. Low pH soil makes banana more susceptible to Panama disease. Avoid soil that is sandy, salty, nutritionally deficient and ill-drained soil. If soil is not in the most favorable condition, improve it! Light sandy soil can be improved by placing mulch around the Banana plants. This will improve water retention and prevent nutrients from percolating quickly into the soil. Nutritionally deficient soil can be improved by incorporating organic matter to the soil before you plant your Bananas and then mulch them thickly. This process should be repeated as often as possible. Bananas do not tolerate waterlogging because its roots will rot. This however can be resolved by planting the Bananas in raised beds.






3. Varieties Varieties

Bananas come in many varieties, therefore selection of the species should be based on its demand and yields. The most commonly cultivated Bananas in Malaysia are Berangan and Canvendish and the remaining popular cultivars are Emas, Rastali, Raja Awak, Abu, Nangka and Tanduk. The schedule below shows the characteristic of the different varieties. With this information, you will be able to choose the species most suitable for your plantation.





Bananas varietiesWeight (kg)Planting to Flowering (months)Flowering to
Harvest (months)
SuckersTissue CultureOptimalSuckersTissue Culture
Dessert 
Berangan10 – 1512 – 1825 – 3610 – 127 – 811 – 12
Cavendish (Novaria)-20 – 2530 – 4010 – 126 – 710 – 12
Cavendish (Montel)-20 – 2530 – 4010 – 126 – 710 – 12
Emas8 – 108 – 1010 – 158 – 106 – 77 – 8
Embun14 – 2520 – 2530 – 4010 – 126 – 710 – 12
Rastali10 – 1412 – 1820 – 3010 – 127 – 811 – 12
Raja12 – 1612 – 1820 – 30-7 – 811 – 12
For cooking 
Abu15 – 2215 – 2830 – 407 – 912 – 1414 – 16
Awak18 – 2218 – 2220 – 257 – 97 – 811 – 12
Gading15 – 2015 – 2020 – 257 – 97 – 811 – 12
Nangka15 – 2015 – 2525 – 307 – 97 – 811 – 12
Tanduk7 – 107 – 12-7 – 97 – 811 – 12
 
By,
M Anem
Senior Agronomist
Parit Raja,
Batu Pahat,
Johor, Malaysia.
(15 Muharam 1435H)

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