Banana is the main staple food and cash crop for more than 25 million smallholder farmers, with an annual production worth US$ 1.5 billion, based on the five-year average price for banana of Shs 700 per kilogram (FEWS, 2021) and the average annual production of 7.6 million tonnes (UBOS 2018 - 2021). This is a significant contribution to Uganda’s agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 8.9 Billion (World Bank 2020). Then, U$ 3.5 million of banana was exported (UBOS 2021), yet the banana crop has great unexploited industrial potential to develop high value products for both the domestic and export markets.
Seed selection: A farmer can select seed or plant varieties based on various factors including yield, use, pests and disease resistance, drought tolerance and maturity period. Planting materials can be tissue culture plantlets and/or suckers.
Tissue culture plants are healthy, pest & disease-free plants, grow uniformly and vigorously.
Suckers: When planting suckers, sword suckers are preferred to water suckers for their vigour and strength. Suckers must be corm pared to ensure they are free of weevils and nematodes. It is also not advisable to transfer soil from one plantation to another because of the risk of cross-infection.
Planting the Corm
Planting banana corms is quite straightforward. Once the planting hole is dug, simply place a corm in the centre of the hole. The corm should sit upright on its flat bottom.
The topsoil that was excavated when the planting hole was dug should now be mixed with manure or fertilizer and put back into the hole around the corm to fix it in place. Put more topsoil on top of the corm, but do not bury it completely. The top of the corm should be 1 inch below the surface of the soil.
Do not compact the soil when putting it back – looser soil will improve both water percolation and aeration.
It is important to retain the unfilled space of the hole (basin) above the corm. This will serve to capture water when it rains, and will make the application of organic matter and/or pesticides to the plant easier.