Salient Features of Banana Cultivation

Usman Siddique, Mujahid Ali, Dr. Rashid Mukhtar Balal
Horticulture, College of Agriculture, UOS

Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran: Banana trees (with fruit) one above another and abundant fruit and extend shade and water flowing constantly neither intercepted nor forbidden (Al-Quran surah Al-Waqia). Banana has 3 major species, first one is dwarf banana botanically known as Musa cavendishii second one is tall banana which is botanically known as Musa sapientum and the third one is cooking banana and botanically known as Musa paradisiaca, all species belongs to family Musaceae and genus is Musa. Banana is the 4th largest fruit crop in the world. According to importance point of view, banana has a great dietary importance of potassium and potassium is a rich diet that can help lower blood pressure and people who eat plenty of potassium have up to 27% lower risk of heart diseases. it is also loaded with calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron and B6 strength your blood and relive from anemia with the iron from a banana. It also helps in digestion rich in pectin, banana aid in digestion and gently chelate toxin and heavy metals from the body and prevents kidney cancer. The climate that is suitable for the banana crop is humid tropical region need a 10-month frost-free condition to produce a flower stalk. growth slows down at 80℉ and entirely stop at 100℉. Hardest varieties stop at 53℉, the moderate temperature is required freezing temperature will kill the foliage and hot temperature scorch the leaves surface. Banana is an important day neutral food crop with a long flowering/fruiting cycle that is affected by hot summers or cold winters in various places. Banana plant like rich soil and need a lot of water to grow. It also requires high humidity.
Banana is fast growing herbaceous perennial arising from under rhizome. Flashy stalk formed by larger of leaves sheath constitute the functional trunk. Each stalk produces one huge flower cluster and then died. The ovary contains first female flower developing without pollination into a cluster of fruit called hands. All hands on an inflorescence called bunch. Each hand has 12-20 fruits called fingers. A number of hands varied from species to variety.
One of the most important phases in development in flowering plants is the decision to flower. The timing of flowering has a major influence on plant fitness. Flowering is controlled by several external factors such as photoperiod, temperature, abiotic stresses and internal factors like hormone levels, C/N ratios, and age of the plant.
Banana grows in varieties of soil for best result, well drained and ridge soil pH is 5.5-6.5. It cannot tolerate salty soils. Best possible location above and an abundant heap of compost. Banana needs regular deep watering during warm weather. Do not let dry out and not over water. Standing water in cold weather will cause root rot.
Banana requires Fertilizer for its better growth and development. NPK is applied 250, 250 and 500 kg/ha respectively. These fertilizers are required for producing 72 tons/ha. Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth. Phosphorus helps in fruit formation while potassium increases yield and quantity. Banana grows best under the warm condition and can survive 28℉ for short period. At 28℉ rhizomes can survive. Wrap trunk or cover with a blanket when the temperature is slow,
The banana does not grow on a tree and perennial herbs plant that has a trunk like a plant has a stem to support fruit. Bananas do not typically produce seeds, we need to propagate them in other ways. The trunk-like stem of a banana plant is a Pseudo stem that is made from a bundled sheath of leaves. Leaves in the pseudostem flower and produce the banana fruit, though the flowers typically aren’t pollinated, so no true seeds are produced within that fruit. The fibrous roots of the banana plant grow extensively, in some cases producing a root mat up to 30 feet wide.
Large corms or rhizomes develop within the root mat, giving as the point from which banana pseudostems grow. We can divide one of these rhizomes into smaller pieces known as “bits” to separate the individual growth points, known as meristems, within it, as each meristem serves as a point of new growth for the banana plant. Then plant the bits, and as long as each planted piece contains at least one meristem, it will develop into a new banana plant over the course of two years.
If harvested when they are small, you can replant the suckers developed by rhizomes to create new banana plants within a single year. Two types of suckers develop on banana plants, but only one type works well to produce a new plant. When leaves begin to appear on the suckers, look for the “sword suckers” that develop straight, thin leaves initially instead of the “water-suckers” that develop broad leaves.

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Proper care is important to make sure the banana plant thrives and produces fruit. Bananas do best when planted in fertile soil that remains moist. They need full sun or partial shade. The plants require significant nutrients due to their large root system and leaf-based pseudostems, so we should fertilize regularly. Remove extra suckers to ensure the primary pseudostem is the focus of development. Shield the plant from heavy winds and freezing temperatures for the best chances of fruit. Major varieties grown in Sindh are Cavendish dwarf (Barsai) 98%, Conventional varieties, tissue culture varieties (Grand naine), varieties of banana based on use like desert banana, cooking banana, fiber bananas globally grown varieties of banana.
Pakistan has produced 154,825-ton banana from 340830-hectares per annum and a major contribution from Sindh Province. More than 90 percent of banana cultivation is done in Sindh i.e. 32,236 hectares out of total 34,830 hectares in Pakistan. Its cultivation in Punjab was far less than Sindh as it covers only 1,389 hectares due to unsuitable weather conditions but it was more than rest of the provinces.

Pakistan is a major banana growing country and one of its provinces, the Sindh, is the major contributor to banana production. The banana was first introduced in Sindh in 1913, for acclimatization and testing. However, the trend of banana cultivation was now growing in Ahmedpur East Tahsil of Bahawalpur and Alipur Tehsil of Muzaffargarh. Banana production in Sindh was recorded at 127,426-ton and in Punjab 9,373-ton.
The total banana world production is 145 million tons in 2013-2014. Mostly cultivated in India and it contributes 30 million out of total production. China, Philippines, and Ecuador are the next largest Bananas producing countries. The Production of Bananas increased from decades and every year variations in total production of each country. Banana is the fourth largest production among the main food crops after Rice, Wheat, and Maize. Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia are the largest exporters of bananas, there are around 17 million tonnes of Bananas exports worldwide. The top 4 producing countries are India China Uganda Philippines.
Bananas provide vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and smaller amounts of other B groups such as folate. They have an excellent source of fiber and resistant starch, which act as very much like fiber. The high level of potassium (K) in bananas helps to keep blood pressure normal. In traditional medicines, banana is considered natures secret to youth. It aids in digestion and helps in the retention of calcium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, the three minerals which work towards building sound and regenerated tissue.
The banana crop modeling presents challenges to both farmers and researchers. Farmers want to increase production, reduce costs, and remain profitable under the variable climate and economic conditions. Researchers want to match soils, climates, and crop growth and give sound management advice. On post-harvest problems, Sindh produces around 126,000 metric tons of bananas annually; around 32.2,000 hectares land in Sindh is devoted to this crop. We may need the services of a food scientist/ post-harvest technologies (physiologist, biochemist and plant pathologist).

Mujahid Ali

I am a PhD scholar in Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF and Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture Department in University of Sargodha.

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