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Monday, March 6, 2017

How irrigation boosts banana yield by 30%.

Farmers, who regularly irrigate bananas, can boot the weight of the fruit by more than 30 per cent. More than 90 per cent of famers in Kenya- especially in Nyanza and Central regions- do not know bananas have to be irrigated like other horticultural crops for high yields. That is why some of the biggest bananas only reach 50kg to 80kg- depending on the rains. Naomi Wahu, who had a banana weighing about 110kg during a farmers’ event in Thika in February 2017, said reduced soil moisture affects food conversion in the crop for maximum weight. A plantlet requires at least 40 liters of water after planting. But as it grows, 20 litres of water must be added to the sucker until maturity,” Wahu, who is a field officer at the Aberdare Technologies Limited said. In the absence of rains, the banana sucker must get 40 to 60 litres of water every week. However, Wahu warned that excess water encourages rotting of the roots due to clogging. Bananas have broad leaves, with some spreading to more than two mitres. The leaves offer a large surface area for the loss of water through transpiration. This water, therefore, must be recovered via irrigation in absence of rain.more