Friday, July 4, 2014

General Guide in Banana Cultivation (Part 4)

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.

9. Harvesting Banana
Harvesting bana done when fingers are fairly evenly rounded. General practice is to harvest when fingers of second hand are ¾ rounded. Alternative, for tree-ripened fruit, cut only those hands that are ripen and leave the remaining for other day. These Bananas taste the best. However, this process is time consuming and not feasible. The mother plant should be cut off after harvest as the plant can never produce again.

It is advisable to place harvested bunch in well padded basket before transporting to the collection site because Bananas are easily bruised and this will inevitably reduce the quality of the fruit. Once harvested, the bunch should be kept out of light, in cool and shady place. The process of ripening can be accelerated by covering the bunch with plastic sleeve together with a ripe fruit as it releases small amount of heat and ethylene which helps initiate and stimulate ripening. Depending on the demand of the market, hands are often cut into units of 6 -15 fingers or left on stalks and sold to retailers.

10. Storage

Keep Bananas refrigerated. The ripening process can be delayed if you refrigerate it. The skin of the fruit will turn dark but the flesh remains firm. Conversely, do not store Bananas below 13°C as it will stop its ripening process (at that temperature Bananas do not emit heat or ethylene).

11. Post Harvest Handling
Post harvest handlingFor export market, Bananas bunch are usually dehanded and soaked in sodium hypochlorite solution to remove the latex and treated with thiobendasole. Both sodium hypochlorite and thiobendasole are chemical compound or commonly known as bleach.

Note: Banana Planters has a strict policy of not using harmful chemical in the production process. Whilst the Banana skin may look grimy, it’s safer to consume.

M Anem
Senior Agronomist
Ladang Pisang PPK,
Jementah, Segamat,
Johor, Malaysia.
(19 Muharam 1435H)

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