Bananas in Kenya are grown in many varieties the ripening varieties and cooking varieties,the ripening include; Gross Michel, Apple,Paz, Ugandan red etc.
Cooking varieties include; Ugandan green,Mutahato and Gradishi.
Bananas have nutritional value and economic value, bananas are sold in supermarkets and open-air markets. The demand for banana in Kenya is generally high. The benefits of banana planting in Kenya is that it can be intercropped with coffee, beans, maize and fruits.
banana planting does well in areas with warm humid climate with annual rainfall of between 1000 and 2500 mm.
before planting, land should be ploughed Harowed and ensured that it is free from perennial weeds,bushes and trees.
The planting should be done on onset of rains under dry conditions. Clean healthy side shoots from mature banana are planted, holes are dug on ploughed land with measurements of 60cm by 60cm. Holes are Dug on lines with spacing of 2.5 m to 3 m.
Decomposed farmyard manure can be used on the holes where banana shoots are to be planted. After planting ensure to cover uniformly the shoots with soil and also add farmyard manure on the topsoil.
Also CAN fertilizer can be alternative to the farmyard manure.
After planting, regular care of weeding mulching and irrigation in dry areas should be done. Weeding ensures that the banana plant grows without disturbance and competition of nutrients.
Excessive suckers and tubers can be removed during growth and used as planting materials.
Maize and sweet potatoes can be intercropped to the young banana plants and are phased out at canopy closure. It is important to irrigate the plants particularly during flowering.
The banana plant matures at a period of eight to twelve months with good care, this varies according to varieties. The banana develops a rounded shape at full maturity, harvesting is ready after 92 to 150 days after fingers start to form.
bananas are harvested green at varying stages depending on the market requirements. Economic lifespan of the plantation is 8 to 10 years after which productivity declines.
weeding: This is getting rid of unwanted plants that grows alongside planted crops and compete with them for nutrients and water, they also harbour pest and diseases which might be harmful to plants and also reducing the yields.
Nutrition: nutrients helps plants in good growth and high yields there are various fertilizers types that can be added to plants, they include the basal,foliar through the macro and micro nutrient elements
Basal fertilizers; these are available in Argostores countrywide they include DAP,CAN,NPK and UREA.
Manure; these are nutrition added to soil to increase nutrients they include animal droppings and decomposed Waste from grass and plant waste.
sheep goats and cows waste can be dried to make manure then added to soil to add nutrition decomposed waste can also be added to the soil to provide maximum nutrition to plants.
manure is widely used and available in Kenya with cheap price.
Irrigation:this is a common practice by farmers especially in areas that receive minimum or no rainfall at all. It has proved to be an effective method in crop production especially in semi-arid areas like Perkerra irrigation scheme in Marigat area Kenya. High-yielding crops are produced in this area with irrigation practice.
Types of irrigation method include.
- Drip irrigation
- Canal irrigation
- Overhead irrigation
Mulching: this is a practice of adding materials like grass Waste or husks on nursery beds or on top of root seedlings covered by soil after planting.
Mulching helps to conserve moisture in the soil as it reduces evaporation of water from the soil, mulching helps to suppress weeds also. When mulching is done soil gets exposed to minimal sunlight hence discourages the growth of unwanted plants called weeds.
This practice is effective on nursery beds and newly transplanted crops.
Pruning: some plants develop Overgrown branches, buds and also yellow or withered leaves, it is important to pluck off these leaves and branches to make a clean plantation and also to reduce infection to other leaves which may occur with infected or withered leaves.
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