Large-scale plantain/banana farming has not been easy for many farmers due to the prohibitive cost of good suckers. Over the years, farmers waited for a long period of time to be able to multiply the few suckers available on their farms thereby making business frustrating and unattractive.
The experience is different today. Thanks to researchers for having found various ways to multiply both plantain and banana, making things easier for more people to come into the sector.
Through perseverance, researchers made available models to meet the demand of the producers, though the final output is yet to satisfy market demand as a result of the ever-growing population.
However, this sector of agriculture holds more promises and profits than most agribusinesses. What has kept people from venturing into the business? Lack of adequate knowledge! Knowledge is not power until it is rightly applied.
It is the right application of what you have learned that gives power not just the knowledge alone. One can become a millionaire through commercial banana/plantain farming when he or she knows the means to multiply the few suckers available.
This article will focus only on the two proven ways to have your banana or plantain suckers multiplied (macro propagation). In an earlier post, I taught us how to start small vegetable farm. You will find it interesting too.
Ways to Multiply Banana/Plantain Sucker in Your Farm
PIF Technique: this technique is tagged PIF, that is to say, seedlings from fragments. The PIF process begins as soon as there is a corm. The skin or the outer layer of the corm is slightly peeled off with a kitchen knife according to the standard norms in case it hosts nematodes.
Immediately after the peeling stage comes the husking (removal of the upper stratum of the corm). You could do this by cutting off 2 to 5 layers to create space where new buds will sprout out, then the corm can be kept for 48hours on average under a shelf with adequate airflow.
The next stage is to get what is called explants with incisions which will be introduced into a propagator (environment prepared with sawdust for the germination). For this process to work as expected, one must prepare a seedbed under a shade where the seedling can be cut out and multiplied (transplanting).
Understand that with just one plantain or banana sucker (corm) you could have up to a hundred seedlings through reactivation of bigger buds. The introduction of the PIF technique brought much progress in regards development of seedlings.
Plantain/ Banana Tissue Culture Procedure
The banana tissue culture procedure has to do with the artificial multiplication of the plant tissue or cell outside the parent plant.
Similar to the PIF technique plantain/ banana tissue culture procedure aims to replicate one sucker into 64siddlings. Tissue culture helps to produce clean and healthy suckers from contaminations (nematodes) within the space of 4months.
The process is as follows;
- Remove a maiden sucker
- peel off the outer layer using a kitchen knife
- Remove the sword
- Dissect the base containing the epical meristem ( what looks like an eye) into 4equal parts
- Divide the 4parts each into two making 8portions.
Now that you have succeeded in removing each portion to stand alone, slightly cut in between each one to create cell division as they begin to germinate. Wash your cutting in a solution of nematicide or wood ash to prevent nematode attack.
Next is to make a shallow opening in the soil, plant each of the 8cutting, then cover with sawdust if available to aid germination. At this stage, continue to water the soil depending on the soil texture. In the next 21days, you will start noticing multiple sprouting on each of the cuttings. Allow them to grow for about 40 days before separating and transplanting them.
Information about PIF, Tissue culture, and the rest will facilitate the development of several potentials and sources of employment.
Trades relating to the production of nursery bags, supplies of sawdust or organic matter, and processing of final products are all income-generating activities that will attract dozen of young producers in the different subsectors of the industry.