Friday, May 28, 2010

Cultivation of Banana and Plantains

Cultivation of Banana and Plantains
Bananas and plantains are cultivated in over 100 countries in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world where they constitute a major stale food crop for millions of people, as well as providing a valued source though local and international trade.

They are grown over a harvested are of approximately 10 million hectares, with an annual production of around 88 million metric tones, who which a third is produced in each of the African, Asia Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions.

They are the developing world’s fourth most important global food crop after rice, wheat and maize in terms of gross value of production.

The vast majority of producers are small scales farmers growing the crop either for home consumption or for local markets.

As well as being a cheap and easily produced source of energy, they are also rich in vitamin A, C and B6.

Furthermore, with the increasing urbanization, bananas and plantains are becoming more and more important as cash crops, in some cases providing the sole source of income to rural populations, thus playing an important role in poverty alleviation.

Bananas and plantains are one of the cheapest foods to produce. The cost of production of one kg of plantain (assuming black Sigatoka control is not required) being less than for most other staples, including sweet potato, rice, maize and yam.

Consequently, bananas and plantains can be a very cheap food to buy and are hence an important food for low income families.

Bananas and plantains will also grow in a range of environments and will produce fruit year around, thus providing a source of energy during the “hungry-period” between crop harvest.

They are particularly suited to intercropping systems and to mixed farming with livestock and they are also popular as a backyard crop with urban populations.

When grown in perennial production systems, they maintain soil cover throughout the year and if their biomass is used for much, soil fertility and organic matter remain stable.

In mixed farming systems, bananas are used as a ground shade and nurse-crop for a range of shade crops including cocoa, coffee black pepper and nutmeg.

In some countries, bananas are more than just a food crop. Among others uses they also provide an important source of fibre and are fermented to produce alcohol.
Cultivation of Banana and Plantains

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