Thinning of Plantain Suckers

Unlike those of most other bananas, plantain suckers develop very slowly. After harvest, all suckers start to grow at the same time and most have to be eliminated to stop competition. The tallest is left to guarantee the follow up and maintain the density. Thinning usually has to be repeated a month later, as new suckers will have emerged by that time. Suckers are thinned with a machete. The sucker pseudo stem is cut off near its corm and the point of the machete is twisted in the growing tip,…

Read More

Required Spacing for Plantain Cultivation

The recommended spacing is 3 m between the plantain rows and 2 m within the row (in other words. 3 m x 2 m). An alternative is 2.5 m x 2.5 m. If spaced 3 m x 2 m, 1 hectare should contain 1667 plants, but with a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m, it should contain 1600 plants. Rows should be straight in flat fields to give plants the maximum amount of sunlight. However, on sloping land, rows should follow the contour lines in order to decrease soil…

Read More

Selecting the site for Plantain Cultivation

The site should be easily accessible, especially if the establishment of a large field is being planned. It should be well drained but not too steeply sloped. Plantain cultivation is impossible if the land becomes flooded from time to time, or has a water table at a depth of only 50 cm or less. The soil should be rich in organic matter (black soil). Hence fields in a long natural fallow, under an improved established fallow or with a lot of mulch are recommended.

Read More

Plantain Inter-cropping

Plantain fields are arranged in rows spaced 3 m x 2 m. As the canopy closes only some 5 to 6 months after planting, a fair amount of inter-row space remains un-exploited during the first months. This space can be used for plants which have a short life cycle and which do not compete with plantains. Groundnut, yam, cocoyam and maize are suitable inter-crops although maize effectively delays the plantain harvest by about 2 months. Cassava and cowpea are not suitable, because their yields are reduced under the shade of…

Read More

Preparing the field for Plantain Cultivation

Fields are to be prepared with minimum disturbance to the soil (no-tillage farming). In consequence, manual clearing should be preferred to mechanical deforestation because bulldozers always remove topsoil with the important organic matter and compact the remaining soil. When an old natural fallow is cleared, the debris from the forest should be burned if plantain cultivation is planned for 1 or 2 cycles only. If perennial cultivation is being considered, planting should be done through the mulch .Young fallows of about 3 to 5 years or improved legume fallows should…

Read More