Banana

Description

Crop details

Scientific name: Musa paradisiaca

Order Zingiberales

Family: Musaceae

Genus: Musa

Local names: Ndizi (Swahili), Matoke (Luganda)

Other names:

  • English: Banana
  • Spanish: Banana
  • German: Banane
  • French: Banane
  • Italian: Banana
  • Russian: Банан
  • Chinese: 香蕉 (xiāngjiāo)
  • Japanese: バナナ (banana)
  • Arabic: موز (mawz)
  • Hindi: केला (kelā)
  • Korean: 바나나 (banana)
  • Swedish: Banan
  • Dutch: Banaan
  • Portuguese: Banana

General Information

Bananas are a type of fruit that grows on a large herbaceous plant that is native to Southeast Asia. They are one of the world's most popular and widely grown fruits, with many varieties being cultivated for both commercial and home use. Bananas are long, curved fruits with smooth, yellow, and sometimes slightly green skin. The average length of a banana is about 7 to 9 inches, and it is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The skin of the banana is usually yellow when it is ripe, but it can also be green, red, or purple depending on the variety.

The inside of a banana is composed of several fleshy, cream-colored segments, which are surrounded by thin, white membranes. The segments are held together by a central core, and they contain small, black seeds that are not usually eaten. The flesh of the banana is soft, slightly sweet, and has a slightly sticky texture.

Bananas are typically planted in the rainy or monsoon season when the soil is moist and can provide enough water to the young plants. In tropical and subtropical climates, where bananas are widely grown, the planting season typically occurs between April and June. In regions with a dry season, the planting may occur in September or October, after the rainy season. It is important to note that the specific planting time may vary depending on the local climate and growing conditions. Additionally, some commercial banana farms may plant bananas year-round in controlled greenhouse or field environments.

The crop is propagated through vegetative reproduction, meaning new plants are produced from existing plant material rather than from seeds. The most common method of propagation is through the use of "suckers" or "pups," which are shoots that grow from the base of the mother plant. The suckers are carefully removed from the mother plant and planted in a new location, where they will develop into a separate plant. In commercial banana farming, the suckers are often treated with rooting hormones to encourage faster and more vigorous growth.

Another method of propagation is through the use of "rhizome" or "corm" cuttings, which are pieces of the underground stem of the banana plant that can be used to start a new plant. This method is less common but may be used in some cases, particularly for rare or specialty varieties of bananas.

Bananas are one of the most popular and widely grown fruits in the world, with their largest production occurring in countries near the equator. They thrive in tropical and subtropical climates and are commonly grown in India, China, the Philippines, Ecuador, Brazil, Uganda, Colombia, Indonesia, Cameroon, and Honduras. However, this is not an exhaustive list, as bananas are also grown in other tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. The specific areas where bananas are grown can vary based on local growing conditions, including temperature, rainfall, soil type, and market demand.




Banana Varieties

There are many different varieties of bananas, ranging in size, color, flavor, and texture. Some of the most common and widely grown varieties include:

  1. Cavendish: This is the most common variety of banana found in grocery stores and is known for its sweet flavor and yellow skin.
  2. Plantain: Plantains are a type of banana that is larger and less sweet than Cavendish bananas. They are typically used for cooking and are a staple food in many countries in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia.
  3. Red Banana: This variety of banana is smaller and sweeter than the Cavendish and has a red or pink skin when ripe.
  4. Lady Finger Banana: This variety of banana is smaller and sweeter than the Cavendish and is a popular snack in many countries.
  5. Blue Java Banana: This variety of banana is also known as the "Ice Cream Banana" due to its creamy texture and sweet flavor. It has a blue-green skin when ripe.
  6. Musa Basjoo: This is a hardy banana variety that is native to Southeast Asia and can grow in cold climates. It has a green skin and a sweet, slightly tart flavor.

Uganda is one of the largest producers of bananas in the world and grows a variety of different types. Some of the most common banana varieties grown in Uganda include:

  1. East African Highland Banana (EABH): This is the most widely grown cooking variety in Uganda and is a staple food in many households. It has a dense and starchy flesh. Examples include "NAROBAN5", "Kyibuzi" and "Mbwazilume".
  2. Ngeyi: This variety of banana is smaller and sweeter than the East African Highland Banana and is commonly eaten when ripe. Examples include "Sukali Ndizi" and "Bogoya".
  3. Cavendish: This variety of banana is similar to the one found in grocery stores and is also grown in Uganda. It is best eaten when roasted on fire. An example is "Gonja".
  4. Plantain: Plantains are a type of banana that are larger and less sweet than the Cavendish and are used for cooking. It is a brewery variety that is mainly planted to extract juice and fermented to make beer. It grows under vast environmental conditions. Examples include "Kayinja", "Kisubi", "Mbiide" and "Musa".
  5. Brewery variety: This is mainly planted to extract juice, which is then fermented to make beer. They grow under vast environmental conditions. Examples include "Kayinja", "Kisubi", "Mbiide" and "Musa."
  6. Other local varieties: In addition to these more widely grown varieties, there are many other local varieties of bananas grown in Uganda, each with its own unique flavor and texture.



Uses

Bananas are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, and are often used as a healthy snack or ingredient in smoothies and other foods.The fruit is the most widely used part of the plant and can be eaten fresh or cooked or processed into starch, chips, puree, beer, vinegar or dehydrated to produce dried fruit. The fruit may also be processed into flour which is used in baking, soups or beverages. The flowers of the plant may be used as a vegetable. Fresh leaves have a high protein content and can be fed to cattle. Other uses for leaves include polishing floors, lining pots or wrapping food. 




Climatic conditions, soils and water

Bananas are a tropical crop that grows best in warm, humid conditions with high rainfall. Here are the key climatic conditions, soils, and water management considerations for growing the crop.

Climatic conditions

Bananas are a tropical crop that grow best in warm, humid conditions with abundant rainfall. The ideal temperature range for growing bananas is between 20°C and 30°C, with a preferred temperature range of 25°C to 28°C. High humidity levels are also important for supporting healthy growth and fruit production. Bananas require a minimum of 1000mm of rainfall or irrigation per year to support growth and fruit production. However, it is important to note that the specific climatic requirements may vary depending on the variety of banana being grown and local growing conditions. It is essential to work with local agriculture experts to ensure that the right climatic conditions are in place for successful banana cultivation.

Soils

Bananas grow best in well-drained, fertile soils with a high organic matter content. They require good aeration and a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. They are also sensitive to soil-borne diseases and to combat this problem, old suckers can also be replaced by young ones.

Water

Bananas require regular watering, especially during the dry season, to support growth and fruit production. Over-watering or waterlogging can lead to root rot, so it is important to ensure good drainage and to avoid standing water around the plants. Drip irrigation systems are commonly used for banana cultivation to conserve water and reduce the risk of disease.




Planting Procedure

Planting bananas may vary depending on the variety being grown and local growing conditions. It is important to work with local agriculture experts or PlantVillage Dream Team officers to ensure the best planting and growing practices for your specific situation. Here is the common procedure:

  1. Preparation: Start by selecting a suitable site for growing bananas, taking into consideration factors such as soil type, drainage, and climatic conditions. Test the soil pH and fertility and amend as necessary.
  2. Propagation: Bananas are usually propagated by planting shoots or suckers that have sprouted from the parent plant. Cut a sucker from the parent plant and remove all but the top 2-3 leaves.
  3. Planting: Dig a hole in the soil 45x45x45 cm in size and 3m x 3m apart [promise O2] that is large enough to accommodate the roots of the sucker. When digging, place the top black soil on the upper side of the hole and brown or subsoil on the lower side. Place the sucker in the hole, making sure the top of the roots is level with the soil surface, leaving a dome-shaped valley on the surface. [promise O3] Backfill the soil around the roots and water thoroughly.
  4. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the plant to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
  5. Irrigation: Bananas require regular watering, especially during dry periods. Make sure the soil is consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
  6. Fertilization: Bananas need regular fertilization to support healthy growth and fruit production. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, at the recommended rate, according to soil test results.
  7.  Pruning: Prune off the older, lower leaves of the plant as they yellow to keep the plant healthy and improve air circulation.



References

CABI Crop Protection Compendium. (2008). Musa datasheet. Available at: http://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/35124. [Accessed 07 February 23].

Crane, J. H., Balerdi, C. F. & Maguire, I. (2008). Banana Growing in the Florida Home Landscape. University of Florida IFAS Extension. Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG04000.pdf. [Accessed 07 Februay 23].

Musau (2015). Banana Varieties in Uganda. PlantVillage. Available at: https://plantvillage.psu.edu/posts/4594-banana-banana-varieties-in-uganda . [Accessed 08 February 23].

Ploetz, R. C., Zentmyer, G. A., Nishijima, W. T., Rohrbach, K. G. & Ohr, H. D. (Eds) (1994). Compendium of Tropical Fruit Diseases. American Phytopathological Society Press. Available at: http://www.apsnet.org/apsstore/shopapspress/Pages/41620.aspx. Available for purchase from APS Press.

Sauls, J. (2003). Growing Bananas. Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Availablable at: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/hortupdate_archives/2003/apr03/art4apr.htm. [Accessed 06 November 14]. Free to access.




Common Pests and Diseases

Diseases

Category : Fungal

Anthracnose Colletotrichum musae

Symptoms
Brown spots on fruit peel; large brown to black areas; black lesions on green fruit.
Cause
Fungus
Comments
Wet conditions promote growth and spread of disease; spread by rainfall through plant or banana bunch.
Management
Commercially produced fruit should be washed and dipped in fungicide prior to shipping; protect fruit from injury; remove flower parts which can harbour fungus.

Banana speckle Mycosphaerella musae

Symptoms
Cause
Comments

Black sigatoka (Black leaf streak) Mycosphaerella fijiensis

Symptoms
Red/brown flecks or spots on underside or topside of leaves; spots with dark or yellow border and grey centre; death of leaf surface; bunch not developing
Cause
Fungus
Comments
Currently the most important disease of banana; promoted by high moisture and spores spread by wind
Management
Export plantations may require regular fungicide applications; increase plant spacing to improve air circulation and reduce humidity; remove leaves with mature spots

Cigar end rot Verticillium fructigena
Trachysphaera theobromae

Symptoms
Tips of fingers initially begin to darken and wrinkle; tips of fingers develop a dark rot; if Verticillium fungi are present then the rot is typically dry and the tips become mummified, if Trachysphaera is present, the rotted are become covered with white spores which gives the fingers the ashen appearance characteristic of cigar end rot.
Cause
Fungus
Comments
Disease is of economic importance in Central and West Africa; it also occurs in India, Iran, South Africa, South America, the Canaries and the West Indies.
Management
Infected flowers should be removed from the plant; bunches should be bagged using perforated polyethylene; chemical control may be necessary in the case of severe infestations.

Cordana leaf spot Cordana musae

Symptoms
Initially the lower leaves shows oval shaped yellow or pale brown spots near the leaf margins. As the disease progress, the central dead brown area of spots is covered by concentric zonation which is surrounded by a yellow halo. The individual spots may join together to form large necrotic area.
Cause
Fungus
Comments
The disease is favored by hot and humid condition. The pathogen mainly spreads by water splash and wind.
Management
Remove all the infected leaves and burn them. If the disease is severe spray copper based fungicides.

Panama disease (Fusarium wilt) Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense

Symptoms
The fungus infect roots and grow inside xylem vessels which in turn blocks flow of nutrients and water to plant. We can see reddish brown discoloration of vascular tissue by cut opening rhizomes and pseudostem. The above ground symptoms are yellowing of older leaves; splitting of leaf sheaths; leaves wilting and buckling; death of entire canopy.
Cause
Fungus
Comments
It is very lethal disease which mainly spreads through soil, running water and infected rhizome. It is one of the first disease of bananas to have spread globally.
Management
Use disease free planting materials; currently no effective treatment once plants are infected.

Rhizome rot Erwinia carotovora
Erwinia chrysanthemi

Symptoms
Pseudostem breaks from rhizome; rhizome will not germinate; internal tissue yellow/brown and watery
Cause
Bacteria
Comments
Bacteria live in soil and enter plant through wounds; disease encouraged by wet, humid conditions
Management
Select only high quality, disease-free rhizomes fro propagation; disinfect all tools used for propagation regularly; allow seed pieces to dry before planting

Yellow sigatoka Mycosphaerella musae

Symptoms
Pale green flecks on leaves which enlarge to chlorotic streaks; streaks enlarge and turn brown with chlorotic halo; mature lesions are gray with a dark brown border; lesions coalesce and kill large areas of leaves
Cause
Fungus
Comments
Spores spread by wind, rain and irrigation water;
Management
Export plantations may require regular fungicide applications; increase plant spacing to improve air circulation and reduce humidity; remove leaves with mature spots

Category : Bacterial

Banana bacterial wilt (BBW) / Banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm)

Symptoms
The infected plant shows yellow leaves which later turn brown and die. If infection occurs at later stage of crop, male buds exhibit dry rot and blackening . Premature uneven ripening of fruits in the bunch. The infected fruit show rusty brown discoloration in pulp. Infected parts ooze yellow bacteria after cut.
Cause
Bacteria
Comments
In Uganda locally it is called as 'kiwotoka'. The disease is mainly transmitted by insects, farm equipments, animals and infected rhizomes. BBW was first recorded in Ethiopia (1968) mainly on banana and enset. Later the disease spread to Uganda (2001) and eventually to other eastern African countries.
Management
Use disease free planting material. Roughing of infected plant and destroy them. Removing of excess male buds prevent disease spread. Disinfect the farm equipments.

Moko disease Ralstonia solanacearum

Symptoms
Older leaves chlorotic, wilted and collapsing; spreads to entire canopy; collapse of pseudostem
Cause
Bacterium
Comments
Can be spread root to root or by insects or human activities such as machete pruning.
Management
Banana plantations should be regularly monitored for presence of disease; if Moko is present, male buds should be removed and all tools thoroughly disinfected; infected plants may need to be destroyed along with any neighbouring plants

Category :

Banana Fruit Cut BXW

Symptoms
Cause
Comments

Banana Leaf Black Sigatoka

Symptoms
Cause
Comments

Banana Leaf BXW

Symptoms
Cause
Comments

Category : Viral

Banana mosaic Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)

Symptoms
Chlorotic mottling or stripes on foliage; distorted fruit which may have chlorotic streaks or mottling; distorted leaves; leaf necrosis
Cause
Virus
Comments
Transmitted by aphids; may be transmitted through infected seed
Management
Remove susceptible host plants from around plantation; plant virus-free material

Bunchy top Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV)

Symptoms
Dark green streaks in leaves; chlorotic and upturned leaf margins; leaves brittle and erect; plant has a ‘bunchy top; no bunches produced
Cause
Virus
Comments
Aphid transmitted; when infected symptoms appear after two more leaves are produced
Management
Plant less susceptible varieties; destroy infected plants to prevent spread of disease

Pests

Category : Insects

Banana aphid Pentalonia nigronervosa

Symptoms
Deformed plants with curled, shriveled leaves; if infestation is severe, galls may form on leaves; colonies of aphids usually present in crown of plant at base of pseudostem or between the outer leaf sheaths; aphid is soft-bodied and red-brown to almost black in color.
Cause
Insect
Comments
Colonies are often tended by ants; populations can build rapidly during warm weather.
Management
Chemical control does not provide protection against transmission of Banana bunchy top and direct feeding damage is not usually severe enough to warrant spraying; insecticidal soaps can help control aphid populations; plants infected with bunch top should be removed and destroyed to prevent spread.

Banana skipper Erionota thrax

Symptoms
Usually larvae feed on leaves. Typically the feeding involves incising and rolling up of leaves.
Cause
Insect
Comments
The insect also attacks coconut and other palm species. The pest is common in Southeast Asia and Pacific islands.
Management
Encourage and release natural enemies to check the population of skippers. Hand pick the larvae and kill them.

Banana weevil Cosmopolites sordidus

Symptoms
Reduced plant growth; reduced fruit production; tunnels may be visible in corm as rounded holes up to 8 mm in diameter; plants wilting and toppling over; destruction of root system; plant death; adult insect is a hard-shelled beetle which is almost black in color; adult is commonly found between leaf sheaths; larvae are creamy-white, legless grubs with a red-brown head
Cause
Insect
Comments
Insects are nocturnal, feeding and mating only at night
Management
Plant only healthy plant material, do not plant if any tunnels are visible; hot water treatment of clean trimmed suckers can be used to kill off many eggs and grubs; applications of neem powder can reduce weevil numbers; appropriate insecticides applied at time of planting can help control weevil numbers

Coconut scale Aspidiotus destructor

Symptoms
Small, flat, whitish scales, usually on undersides of leaves but may also attach to petioles, peduncles and fruit; plant tissue discolored and yellowing.
Cause
Insect
Comments
Coconut scale attacks a large number of hosts including coconut and other palm species, avocado, cassava, papaya, guava and sugar cane; most common in tropical regions.
Management
Biological control is the best way to manage scale, with lady beetles providing the most effective protection.
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