Banana Farming In Kenya: The Ultimate Guide 2021

Are you looking for profitable banana farming In Kenya? Then, you have come to the right place. In this short banana farming pdf, we’re going to show you precisely what you need to achieve success in the endeavor.

Without wasting much of your precious time, let’s get you started on what you came here to look read.

Banana Farming In Kenya

Bananas are one of the most cultivated tropical crops after maize and beans. The banana fruit is also a source of income in many households and a staple product.

Apart from being used as a fruit, bananas complement fruit salads, starch, crips, alcohol, or even dried and then sold as a dry fruit.

The banana flower is also used as a vegetable but must be boiled in salty water to remove the bitter taste.

This plant’s leaves and stems are suitable for dairy and poultry consumption as they provide essential protein supplements.

Climatic conditions

Bananas do well in warm climatic conditions coupled with constant humidity in the air. These plants need long and regularly distributed rains with temperature ranges of 26-27ºC.

These conditions are met at latitude 30 to 31º North or South and 1 to 2m altitudes. In Kenya, Kisii and Meru are good examples of these conditions.

In tropical conditions, light does not have as much effect on plant development as in subtropical conditions.

Although by decreasing the light intensity, the vegetative cycle of the plant is prolonged. The growth of the suckers is also affected by the quantity and strength of light.

Bananas require a minimum amount of rain from 120 to 150mm per month or 44mm per week.

The lack of water at any given time can cause a reduction in the number and size of the fruits and the final yield of the harvest.

Soil Requirements

Banana cultivation and development thrive well in soils with the following characteristics;

  1. Silty clay loam soils
  2. Sandy loam soils.
  3. Any other soil with a loamy loam texture is also good.

The soils should also be rich in nitrogen, fertile, and well-drained with a permeability of 1.2-a.5m deep.

Soils rich in potassium, limestone, clay-siliceous, or those obtained from deforestation but do not retain water during the rainy seasons are also suitable for banana cultivation.

It is important to note that banana trees have a high tolerance to the acidity of the soil. Therefore, the soil PH should be between 4.5-8, with the optimum being 6.5. Although this may be true, bananas thrive the best on flatlands, with 0-1% slopes.

Propagation techniques

As you all know, bananas are incapable of producing seeds. Therefore, this leaves us with only two methods of reproduction. And that is through the asexual and vegetative propagation. Therefore, let us look at the various techniques of banana farming in Kenya’s propagation.

Methods of Banana propagation.

  1. Traditional propagation
  2. Propagation by the Corms division.
  3. Propagation by sprout division.
  4. Propagation by rupture and elimination of the central bud
  5. Propagation through the use of shoots.
  6. Propagation through “Vitro plants.”
  7. Propagation and simultaneous production (PPS)

Banana propagation and planting are highly dependent on the type and age of the suckers used during cultivation.

A well-developed sprout should be at least 75cm high with a stem diameter of 15cm and have straight leaves.

The sprout will, in turn, reproduce other suckers 18 months after transplantation. The banana trees will start bearing fruits well after 2-3 years.

How to plant the banana suckers

Once the suckers have been chosen and are ready for planting, holes are dug in open ground to prepare for planting.

In general, gaps of 0.30-0.40 x 0.30-0.40 x 0.30-0.40m are recommended. It is convenient to add 2-3kg of organic fertilizer at the bottom of the hole to improve root development.

For short banana varieties, the distance from one sucker to the next should be 3m. And from one row to the other row to row should be 3M. It is advisable to plant at least 1000 bananas per acre.

For the extended variety of bananas, the distance from one sucker to the next should be 3m. And from one row to the other row to row should be m. Here at least, you can plant 480 bananas on an acre.

The best time to plant banana suckers is during the start of long rains. You can also do intercropping during the early stages of banana planting.

Crop maintenance

Weeding should occur after 4-6 weeks from the day of the planting to remove unwanted sprouts. The spouts should not exceed four per banana tree.

In this case, only the banana tree and three small, medium-sized sprouts should be allowed to grow.

Too many banana trees in a given spot can cause the production of small banana fruits. Unwanted shoots should be cut down and destroyed in the growing part.

The banana field is also filled with mulch, which is kept 60cm away from the trees.

Fertilizer

Just like any other crop, bananas also need fertilizer to reproduce correctly. Leguminous plants, through intercropping, provide these essential nutrients to the soil.

Cowdung and compost manure is also essential. However, we are advised to use phosphate rock for improving and strengthening the roots of bananas.

Pests and Diseases that hinder Banana Farming in Kenya

Bacterial Wilt

Bacterial wilt initially attacks the leaf between the three young leaves, making it turn yellowish and shrivel. Later the other leaves wither and fall around the stem of the bananas. Bananas that are infected with this type of disease often have spots on the inside.

How to prevent Bacterial Wilt disease

  1. Remove and burn all the affected banana trees.
  2. Use disease-free suckers.
  3. Lastly, always use disease-resistant suckers as possible if you can.

Banana Bunchy Top Virus

This is a random type of disease, which means that it can occur during the growth of bananas.

This disease is usually spread by aphids and can even attack young shoots. The infected plants may fail to reproduce and or even produce small, hardy bananas.

How to get rid of the bunchy top virus

  • Use non-invasive sprouts.
  • Remove and burn all infected plants, including their corms.

The Cigar End rot disease

This condition can affect ripe banana fruit, too, causing the banana’s rot and dryness from the end tip. The affected fruit becomes dark and thick as ash. It looks like a cigarette end is off.

Prevention

  • Avoid injuring bananas, and do not cut the banana flower 8-11 weeks from birth.
  • Focus on hygiene in the field.
Tim Jumah
Tim is a practising farmer based in Trans-Nzoia. His love for technology in agriculture led to the establishment of this website.

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