By Mugenyi Joseph
Bananas are the mostly grown and consumed food crop in Uganda.
Many farmers have opted to banana growing because it’s easy and cheap compared to other crops.
At your one hectare you can plant 100 bananas per hole, this implies during harvesting you expect 100 bunches.
Assuming each is sold at 15,000shs, the total selling price will be 1,500,000shs.
In a year you cut three bananas per hole making it 3×1,500,000=4,500,000shs.
Assuming you have only 4 hectares of land (on average, a farmer in Uganda has 4 hectares of land) the annual sales will be 4,500,000×4=18,000,000shs which is good money versus the input capital.
So the bigger the plantation the more money got during harvesting.
So Let’s Look At The Steps Taken In Order To Start Banana Planting;
- Prepare the land where you want to plant bananas.
- Dig a hole of about 50cm*50cm*50cm using a hoe.
Put compost manure and leave it for about 3days for easy decomposition.
- Uproot a young and healthy banana very carefully with all its roots.
- Trim the length of roots on the young one using a panga, this will fasten new root generation.
- Place the banana amidst the hole.
- Mix compost manure with the top soil and fill the hole half way.
Note The Following;
Bananas grow well in areas that receive relatively high rainfall of about 1500-2500mm per year. Mostly central and western Uganda gets this.
When you finish planting bananas, you can intercrop with beans, cabbages, tomatoes and other vegetables.
Tomatoes are the best to intercrop in a banana plantation because of the fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides etc used during weekly spraying.
Intercropping will help generate money besides bananas.
After harvesting intercrops, you can now mulch the garden, this helps keep the soil moist for a long time and also controls weeds.
U can apply manure twice or thrice per year.
As they grow, you will have to do weeding because the un necessary plants compete for nutrients in the soil and cause stunted growth.
Carry Out Desuckering
Leave at least 3 bananas per hole, the mother, daughter and granddaughter. This will reduce nutrients and sunlight competition per hole. Also the size of the bunch will be bigger compared to one with many young ones per hole.
A banana plant should have atmost 6-8 leaves. Leaves help in photosynthesis i.e making of food for the plant.
Bananas take12-18months for the farmer to harvest depending on the specie.
Most start flowering at 12 months and it takes 2-3months for the tiny fruits to fully develop into mature banana.
Remove the flower stalk (enkanana) after the fruits have grown into bananas of a moderate size. It’s good you cut the flower stalk after fruits have developed into bananas because it competes for food and also provides media for disease transmission due to cross pollination by insects.
Next time we shall look at pest and disease control in banana plants, thank you.
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Mugenyi Joseph (MJ Farmer) is a practicing Agribusiness entrepreneur based in Kibiito and a software Engineering student at Makerere University. He can be reached on 0701-443309, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org