Plantain: plant more, pick more
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 2001. Plantain: plant more, pick more. Spore 94. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46248
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore94.pdf
'Such an intensive production system is the way of the future if our countries are to meet the ever-increasing demand of the urban middle class for plantain.' That is a major conclusion of a study visit by eight farmers, extension officers and...
Such an intensive production system is the way of the future if our countries are to meet the ever-increasing demand of the urban middle class for plantain.' That is a major conclusion of a study visit by eight farmers, extension officers and scientists from west and central Africa to the Caribbean s Dominican Republic and Costa Rica in Central America in April 2001, organised by INIBAP and CTA. Their task was to study and transfer back home intensive production systems which have yields several times higher than the average 5 t per hectare produced by their traditional methods. The methods are drastic, relying on mono-cropping with high density rows planted at between 2,500 and 4,000 per hectare, aligned for maximum solar radiation and minimal wind. These require well-timed irrigation, weed-control and applications of fertilisers, fungicides and pesticides, though the reduced incidence of black Sigatoka leaf disease in this system means less fungicides. Most drastic of all: plants are planted anew each year. A ratoon crop (from the sprouting shoot) is not recommended: the second harvest is delayed and the yield is less than half the first. The visitors concluded that the system is transferable, but it is more for resource-rich farmers, groups and coops than for smallholders, and requires finance for inputs, transport and marketing. Is there an alternative though? Surging demand beckons with more revenue, and land pressures make intense methods essential. Yet, as our friends at Cameroon s wisdom Website of proverbs (www.wagne.net) remind us: 'Never make a promise in a meeting with a bunch of bananas which is still on the tree.' [caption to illustration] We d sell more if we grew more