Friday, March 11, 2016
START UP @ BANANA / PLANTAIN PRODUCTION.
The health benefits of bananas/ plantain can not be overemphasized and this love can be turned to a business venture ,which is equally rewarding. Bananas/ plantain can be packaged raw and fresh or processed and packaged for sale. The business of frying and packaging plantain as snack is another topic entirely that will be discussed later. A recent interview with a farmer with plantain/banana plantation shed some more light on the planting and nurturing of the fruit.There are various species that can be cultivated, that starts fruiting at about 5 months and new varieties are also available courtesy of bio crops which fruit earlier , grow bigger and tastes better. Thinking of starting a plantation? consider this; The soil type should be virgin with added advantage if it has river-silt deposits. The soil does not have too be too deep,because banana /plantain crops are shallow rooted.The best soil type is loamy drained to 4-6 feet deep is recommended, heavy clay soils are unsuitable. The variety/specie depends on choice of the farmer as well as target market,the new improved varieties and imported varieties have been used extensively in the field. Land preparation entails,clearing the land and fell any tree on site; line and stake out so that the plantation will not be haphazard. Dig holes that should be at least 1 .5 x 1.5 x 1.5.,and note the heavier the soil the larger the planting hole. Planting usually done by rhizomes or sword suckers.The planting with rhizomes entails,using the fleshy underground part of the plant usually taken from large suckers that have not fruited.These are dug,suckers removed just above the rhizomes and all roots trimmed off. The layer rhizomes may be cut into 2 pieces each for planting one foot deep.This method gives greater yields. Bananas/plantains are sensitive to water shortage,thus keep water available to roots frequently. Application of fertilizer is important for the plantation,although the natural fertility is fully utilized but bananas grow better when sulphate of ammonia applied as top dressing during rains. Remove weeds after planting and cut smaller branches of the felled trees to give the young crops a chance to grow.Its advisable to avoid deep cultivation,which damages the shallow roots.When plants are full grown they will shade the ground and prevent growth of more weeds. Cut branches at maturity and sell-off. The number of suckers determines the yield and quality.The ideal situation is to start with one sucker and when its about half height,start a second sucker.When the second sucker is half-height,start the third and continue. If market is far from farm such as across borders or across states, cut the bunches at maturity before it ripens and store for transport to market. The bunches can be hung up from farm barn roof and then smoked to get uniform ripening. The bananas can also be stored at 68-70 F at humidity of 85%. The bunches can also be put in a pit in the ground and covered with banana leaves and leave for 3 days. plantain lover # banana love # entrepreneur # plantain chips # banana pudding.