Preserving prodigious plantains
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CTA. 1994. Preserving prodigious plantains. Spore 49. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49321
Plantain is a major staple food in the humid tropics of Africa providing more than 25% of the carbohydrates required by about 70 million people. In addition to being an important staple food for rural and urban consumers, plantain provides an...
Plantain is a major staple food in the humid tropics of Africa providing more than 25% of the carbohydrates required by about 70 million people. In addition to being an important staple food for rural and urban consumers, plantain provides an important source of revenue for smallholders who produce them in compounds or home gardens as well as in large-scale field production. In Nigeria three main plantain cultivars are grown; the French plantain the Horn plantain and the Falsehorn plantain. Each of these cultivars produces only one bunch of fruit and yet some farmers in Eastern Nigeria claim to have a plantain 'type' that produced two bunches at fruiting. A scientist from the Department of Crop Science of the University of Nigeria, conducted a survey in Southern Nigeria into the incidence of a phenomenon known as 'double bunching'. While the centre of origin or concentration of this plantain 'type' cannot yet be pinned down to any particular location of Southern Nigeria, it was observed that double-bunching was found in every part of Southern Nigeria where plantain is primarily cultivated. The reason for this double bunching, or dichotomy, is still unknown but it was observed that some 50% of the suckers from double-bunching plantains reverted back to single bunching. The initial investigation has thrown up some interesting questions that need further research such as: - Is dichotomy of genetic origin, that is through mutation of the existing plantain cultivars? - Is the dichotomous plantain a naturally occurring but endangered plantain 'types that has not been noted scientifically nor fully domesticated and multiplied for wider cultivation? - Are there certain environmental factors (especially nutritional) that could induce dichotomy in plantain? The researchers are interested in proposals or funding that would enable more research to be conducted into the preservation and development of this potentially useful plantain. K P Balyeri Department of Crop Science University of Nigeria Nsukka- Enugu State NIGERIA