|By goGreen | July 20, 2011|
Banana (Musa sp.) is one of the most common and widely grown fruit crops in the Philippines. It is also one of the country’s major dollar earners, and banana has consistently ranked next to coconut oil and prawns in terms of value earning during the last five years. In 1993, banana topped local production of other major fruits such as pineapple and mango. Banana has many uses. The ripe fruit is pureed, candied, and preserved in various forms when not eaten fresh. Its extract is used in the manufacture of catsup, vinegar, and wine. The unripe fruit is powdered and chipped. Among the more popular varieties are the Bungulan, Lacatan, Latundan, Saba, and Cavendish. In rural areas, the young leaves are pounded and applied to injuries to suppress bleeding. The leaves are also used widely as packing materials for fruits and vegetables in market centers. Banana fiber is woven into rope, and mat. Sheets of paper and paper boards are also made from banana peel. Banana blossom is exported dried and usually added to meat recipes.
Banana is native to Southeast Asia where the climate is warm and humid.Of the 57 banana cultivars, the following are the most common in the Philippines:
SABA grows to as tall as 20 feet; fruit is angular; has thick peel that is green when unripe, yellow when ripe; flesh is white when ripe; gestation period is 15 to 16 months.
LAKATAN grows to a height of five to nine feet; fruit is round, seedless; has thick peel that is green when unripe, yellow-orange when ripe; gestation period is 14 to 15 months.
LATUNDAN grows from six to 10 feet tall: fruit is round; has thin peel that is green when unripe, yellow when ripe; flesh is white when ripe; gestation period is 12 months.
BANGULAN fruit is round, very sweet, seedless, and easily rots; has thick peel that is green when unripe and remains green when ripe; flesh is white when ripe; gestation period is 12 months.
CAVENDISH reaches five to 10 feet high; fruit is bigger than Bungulan; peel is green when unripe, yellow when ripe; flesh is yellow when ripe; export quality; gestation period is six to eight months. Other varieties grown in the country include the Morado, Pitogo, Los Baños, Señorita, Tindok, Gloria, Granada, and Tumok.
CLIMATE AND SOIL REQUIREMENTS
Bananas are very sensitive to strong winds. If bananas are planted in places frequently visited by strong winds, they should be provided with windbreakers. Wind velocity of 40 to 50 km per hour can cause crown distortionwhile wind velocity of 95 km per hour can cause complete destruction of the banana plant. In the absence of windbreakers, banana plants should be planted on the leeward side not the windward side. It is best grown in warm moist regions or areas with temperature ranging from 15 °C to 35 °C. Above 35 °C it is not good for growing bananas. Growth is impaired when rainfall drops below 10 cm a month. Banana’s rainfall requirement is 20 cm – 22 cm distributed evenly throughout the year. Regions with long dry season could also be developed with banana plantation provided that there would be a good irrigation facility.
Banana grown from the poorest to the richest type of soil with varying success, but banana is well adapted to well drained sandy or clay soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH preferred by banana is 4.5 to 7.5. Banana is very sensitive to water logging, hence, required a deep, moist fertile and well-drained soil. It can grow in flat and rolling terrain. Newly opened forest lands are ideal for growing banana. Ravines and hilly areas can also be utilized provided erosion control and production practices are considered.
Secure virus-free planting materials like tissue-culture bananas from reputable tissue culture laboratories. If none, select sword-leaf suckers, maiden-leaf suckers, water suckers or even peepers growing in a disease-free mat for planting.
The field is disc plowed and harrowed thrice. All stumps and bushes must be removed. Size and shape of the hole will depend on the kind of planting materials. Knee-deep holes with 45cm diameter are dug and each hole is fertilized with 10 grams of complete fertilizer and a few of granular nematives.
Distance of planting
Lakatan 3-4 meters apart
Latundan 3-4 meters apart
Bangulan 3-4 meters apart
Cavendish 2-5 meters apart
Saba 4-7 meters apart
Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the corn or ball of soil that goes with the seedling.
Put the right amount of basal fertilizer, be it organic or inorganic.
Cover the fertilizer with at least one inch thick of soil.
Remove the seedling from the plastic bag, and plant. Fill the hole with soil and pack gently to hold the seedling in place. Leave a hollow space 10 cm to 15 cm from the surface of the soil to avoid floating suckers when the bananas are fully grown and producing suckers already. Water after planting.
CULTIVATION AND MAINTENANCE
Cultivation should not go beyond six inches from the base of the plant to avoid root injury. Intercropping between rows can control weed growth. Commercial sprays, such as Glamoxine or Karmex control weed. Plants must be propped up with bamboo poles during fruiting for support against strong winds. Propping is done as soon as the inflorescence has already bent.
DESUCKERING OR PRUNING
Unnecessary suckers must be killed by cutting them off from mother plants. Only one or two suckers must be allowed per hill to reduce competition for soil nutrients.
Deleaf regularly to avoid leaf disease. If there are eight (8) or less leaves in a plant, remove only the dried part and not the whole leaf, even if only the midrib is left, so that photosynthetic active of the plant will not be greatly reduced. Be sure to maintain 8-15 functional leaves in a plant in order to produce big bunches of fruit.
During the early stages of growth (1-5 months old bananas), apply the fertilizer 30-60 cm from the base of the plant in a ring or band method. Follow the same procedure on older plants. Divide the recommended amount of fertilizer in 12 equal parts, if you prefer to apply every month. If labourers are few, divide the recommended amount into four parts. Use the first part as first application as basal fertilizer at planting time. Every three months, apply one part of the remaining recommended fertilizer around the plant. If suckers are allowed to grow, apply the fertilizer in band 30-60 cm away from the base of each sucker. However, if the land is hilly, apply the fertilizer on the uphill side of the plant. Be sure to cover the fertilizer, then water after application.
IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE
In areas with long dry period, irrigation is very necessary. It can be applied by overhead sprinkler, furrow irrigation, drip or trickle irrigation especially during wet season. Construct drainage canal to prevent waterlogging.
FRUIT CARE PROPPING
Once the inflorescence of the banana is out, prop the plant to support it until harvest. Reposition the props and cut leaves that touches the fruits during the early fruit development stage.
When three hands are out, spray the bunch with appropriate insecticide and fungicide to prevent thrips and other insects that may damage the fruits and fungal disease too. Spray at weekly interval until the fruit false appears.
Removal of the style, perianth and male bud
For phyto sanitary purposes, remove the perianth and the style while the bunch is still young. This is usually during the bagging operation. The male bud is removed immediately after the false hand has appeared and the fruits start to curve up.
Bag the bunch to protect it from pests and to hasten maturity. This is done when the last hand has emerged.
Regardless of variety, the maturity of banana can be distinguished when the last leaf turns yellow. The angle formation of the fingers also determines ripeness. The rounded the angle of the fingers, the more mature they are. Saba is harvested 15 to 16 months after planting; Lakatan, 14 to 15 months; Latundan, 12 months; Bungulan, 12 months; Cavandish, six to 8 months. Harvesting needs two people, to serve as the cutter and the backer. It involves cutting deep into the middle of the trunk and letting the top fall gradually until the bunch is at the reach of the backer. The peduncle is cut long enough to facilitate handling. Use shoulder pad to protect fruits. Avoid dropping the fruit bunches.
Fruits for immediate shipping are harvested five to 10 days before ripening. Bananas for marketing are packed in crates as tightly as possible to lessen unnecessary vibrations during transport.Source: Department of Agriculture