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Banana is one of the major and economically important fruit crop of India. Banana occupy 20% area among the total area under crop in India. Most of Banana is grown by planting suckers. The technology development in agriculture is very fast, it results in developing Tissue Culture Technique.

Suitable Climate for Banana Farming :

Banana, basically a tropical crop, grows well in a temperature range of 15ºC – 35ºC with relative humidity of 75-85%. It prefers tropical humid lowlands and is grown from the sea level to an elevation of 2000m. above m.s.l.. In India this crop is being cultivated in climate ranging from humid tropical to dry mild subtropics through selection of appropriate varieties. Chilling injury occurs at temperature below 12ºC. High velocity of wind which exceeds 80 km /hr. damages the crop. Four months of monsoon (June to September) with an average 650-750 mm. rainfall are most important for vigorous vegetative growth of banana. At higher altitudes, banana cultivation is restricted to a few varieties like ‘Hill banana”. Deep, rich loamy soil with pH between 6.5 – 7.5 is most preferred for banana farming. Soil for banana should have good drainage, adequate fertility and moisture. Saline solid, calcareous soils are not suitable for banana cultivation. A soil which is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, rich in organic material with high nitrogen content, adequate
phosphorus level and plenty of potash is good for banana.

Suitable Soil Type for Banana Farming :

In Banana Farming , Soil for banana should have good drainage, adequate fertility and moisture. Deep, rich loamy soil with pH between 6-7.5 are most preferred for banana cultivation. Ill drained, poorly aerated and nutritionally deficient soils are not suitable for banana. Saline solid, calcareous soil are not suitable for Banana cultivation. Avoided soil of low laying areas, very sandy & heavy black cotton with ill drainage.
A soil that is not too acidic & not too alkaline, rich in organic material with high nitrogen content, adequate phosphorus level and plenty of potash are good for banana.

Banana Varieties:

In India, banana is grown under diverse conditions and production systems. in your banana farming ,Selection of varieties, therefore is based on a large number of varieties catering to various kinds of needs and situations. However, around 20 cultivars viz. Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Monthan, Poovan, Nendran, Red banana, Nyali, Safed Velchi, Basarai, Ardhapuri, Rasthali, Karpurvalli, Karthali and Grandnaine etc..Grandnaine is gaining popularity and may soon be the most preferred variety due to its tolerance to biotic stresses and good quality bunches. Bunches have well spaced hands with straight orientation of figures, bigger in size. Fruit develops attractive uniform yellow colour with better self life & quality than other cultivars.

Land Preparation for Banana Farming :

Prior to planting banana, grow the green manuring crop like daincha, cowpea etc. and burry it in the soil. The land can be ploughed 2-4 times and leveled. Use ratovator or harrow to break the clod and bring the soil to a fine tilt. During soil preparation basal dose of FYM is added and thoroughly mixed into the soil. A pit size of 45cm x 45cm x 45cm is normally required. The pits are to be refilled with topsoil mixed with 10 kg of FYM (well decomposed), 250 gm of Neem cake and 20 gm of conbofuron. Prepared pits are left to solar radiation helps in killing the harmful insects, is effective against soil borne diseases and aids aeration. In saline alkali soil
where PH is above 8 Pit mixture is to be modified to incorporate organic matter. Addition of organic matter helps in reducing salinity while addition of purlite improves, porosity and aeration. Alternative to planting in pits is planting in furrows. Depnding on soil strata one can choose appropriate method as well as spacing and depth at which plant is required to be planted.

Planting Material in Banana Farming :

About 70% of the farmers are using suckers as planting material while the rest 30% of the farmers are using tissue culture seedlings. Sword suckers with well developed rhizome, conical or spherical in shape having actively growing conical bud and weighing approximately 450-700 gm are commonly used as propagating material. In Banana Farming , suckers generally may be infected with some pathogens and nematodes. Similarly due to the variation in age and size of sucker, crop is not uniform, harvesting is prolonged and management becomes difficult. Therefore, invitro clonal propagation i.e. Tissue culture plants are recommended for planting. They
are healthy, disease free, uniform in growth and early yielding.

 

Advantages of Tissue Culture Planting Material:

1. True to the type of mother plant under well management.
2. Pest and disease free seedlings.
3. Uniform growth, increases yield.
4. Early maturity of crop – maximum land use is possible in low land holding country like India.
5. Round the year planting possible as seedlings are made available throughout the year.
6. Two successive ratoons are possible in a short duration which minimizes cost of cultivation.
7. No staggered harvesting.
8. 95% – 98% plants bear bunches.

Planting season in Banana Farming :

Planting of tissue culture Banana can be done throughout the year except when the temperature is too low or too high. Facility of drip irrigation system is important. There are two important seasons in Maharashtra, India;
Mrig Baug (Kharif) Month of planting June – July. Kande Baug (Rabi) Month of planting October – November

Crop Geometry in Banana Farming:

 

Traditionally banana growers plant the crop at 1.5m x 1.5m with high density, however plant growth and yields are poor because of competition for sunlight. Various trials are conducted at Jain Irrigation System R&D farm with Grandnaine as cultivar. And then suitable spacing of 1.82 m x 1.52 m is being recommended, it accommodates 1452 plants per acre (3630 plants per hectare) keeping row direction North-South with wide
spacing 1.82m between the rows. The region like north India, coastal belt and where humidity is very high and temp falls down upto 5-7ºC, the planting distance should not be less than 2.1m x 1.5m.

Planting Method in Banana Farming :

Pit planting is commonly followed in garden system of cultivation. A pit size of 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 m. is normally required. Small pits are dug in case of ridges and furrows. The pits are to be refilled with topsoil mixed with 10 kg of FYM (well decomposed), 250 gm of neem cake and 20 gm of carbofuran. Prepared pits are left open for 15-20 days for solar radiation to kill all the insects, soil borne diseases and for aeration before refilling.
In saline alkali soil where pH is above 8, pit mixture is to be modified incorporating organic matter and gypsum.

The suckers are planted in the centre of the pit and soil around is compacted. Plants are planted in the pits keeping pseudostem 2cm below the ground level. Soil around the plant is gently pressed. Deep planting should be avoided. The field is irrigated immediately after planting. Furrow planting is practiced in annual planting system in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Trench planting is practiced in wet land cultivation
of Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu.

Irrigation or Water Management in Banana Farming :

Banana Irrigation

Banana, a water loving plant, requires a large quantity of water for maximum productivity. But Banana roots are poor withdrawal of water. Therefore under Indian condition banana production should be supported by an efficient irrigation system like drip irrigation.Water requirement of banana has been worked out to be 2000mm per Annum. Application of drip irrigation and mulching technology has reported improved water use efficiency. There is saving of 56% of water and increasing yield by 23-32% under drip.

Irrigate the plants immediately after planting. Apply sufficient water and maintain field capacity. Excess irrigation will lead to root zone congestion due to removal of air from soil pores, thereby affecting plant establishment and growth. And hence drip method is must for proper water management in Banana.

Application of Manure and Fertilizers in Banana Farming :

Banana requires high amount of nutrients, which are often supplied only in part by the soil. Nutrient requirement has been worked out on all India basis is to be 20 kg FYM, 200gm N; 60-70gm P; 300gm K/plant. Banana requires heavy nutrition. Banana crop requires 7-8 Kg N, 0.7- 1.5 Kg P and 17-20 Kg K per metric tonne yield. Banana responds well to application of nutrients. Traditionally farmers use more of urea and less of phosphorous and potash.

In order to avoid loss of nutrients from conventional fertilizers i.e. loss of N through leaching, volatilization, evaporation and loss of P and K by fixation in the soil application of water soluble or liquid fertilizers through drip irrigation (fertigation) is encouraged. A 25-30% increase in yield is observed using fertigation. Moreover, it saves labour and time and the distribution of nutrients is uniform.

Interculture in Banana Farming :

The Root system of banana is superficial and easily damaged by cultivation, use of intercrop which is not desirable. However short durational crops (45-60 days) like mung, cowpea, daincha are to be considered as green manuring crops. Crops from cucurbitaceous family should be avoided as these carry viruses.

Weeding in Banana Farming :

Spraying of Glyphosate (Round up) before planting at the rate of 2 lit/ha is carried out to keep the plantation weed free. One or two manual weedings are necessary. Micronutrient Foliar Spray : Combined foliar application of ZnSo4 (0.5%), FcSo4 (0.2%), CuSo4 (0.2%) and H3Bo3 (0.1%) can be adopted to improve morphological, physiological and yield attributes of banana. The micronutrient spray solution is prepared by dissolving the following in 100 lit. of water.Zinc sulphate – 500 gm – For every 10 litre of mixture 5-10 ml of sticker solution such as Teepol should be added before spraying. Ferrom sulphate – 200 gm – For every 10 litre of mixture 5-10 ml of
sticker solution such as Teepol should be added before spraying.Copper – 200 gm – For every 10 litre of mixture 5-10 ml of sticker solution such as Teepol should be added before spraying.

Removal of male buds :(Denavelling) Removal of male buds helps fruit development and increases bunch weight. Male buds are removed from the last 1-2 small hands with a clean cut keeping a single finger in the last hand.
Bunch Spray : Spray of monocrotophos (0.2%) after emergence of all hands takes care of the thrips. Thrips attack discolors the fruit skin and makes it unattractive.
Bunch Covering : Covering bunch using dried leaves of the plant is economical and prevents the bunch from direct exposure to sunlight. Bunch cover enhances quality of fruit. But in rainy season this practice should be avoided. Sleeving of bunch is done to protect fruits against dust, spray residue, insect and birds. For this blue plastic sleeves are preferred. This also increases temperature around developing bunch and helps in early maturity.
Dehandling of false hands of bunch :In a bunch there are some incomplete hands which are not fit for quality produce. These hands should be removed soon after bloom. This helps in improving the weight of other hands. Sometimes the hand just above the false hand is also removed.
Propping : Due to heavy weight of bunch the plant goes out of balance and the bearing plant may lodge and production and quality are adversely affected. Therefore they should be propped with the help of two bamboos forming a triangle by placing them against the stems on the leaning side. This also helps in uniform development of bunch.