Introduction to Plantains and their Environment

Plantains (Musa spp., AAB genome) are plants producing fruits that remain starchy at maturity (Marriot and Lancaster, 1983; Robinson, 1996) and need processing before consumption. Plantain production in Africa is estimated at more than 50% of worldwide production (FAO, 1990). The majority (82%) of plantains in Africa are produced in the area stretching from the lowlands of Guinea and Liberia to the central basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo. West and Central Africa contribute 61 and 21%, respectively (FAO, 1986). It is estimatedthat about 70 million people in West…

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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…

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Weed Management on Plantain Cultivation

Weeds can be hand-pulled or chemically controlled. Paraquat and simazine are appropriate herbicides since they control the weeds without affecting the plantains, unless leaves are accidentally sprayed. Glyphosate, diuron and gramuron are not recommended as they can be phytotoxic to plantains. Plantains should always be weed-free. Weed control starts during field preparation. Weeds are initially controlled about every 6 to 8 weeks; but when the plantain canopy closes, about 5 to 6 months after planting, weed infestation declines due to shading. Any plant with a superficial root system should be…

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