Experiences in organic banana production at Golden Organics Limited (G.O.L.), the organic banana production subsidiary of the Compagnie Fruitière Group in Ghana
After 8 years of experience, the plantation of Golden Organics Limited (G.O.L.) produces today about 24,000 t of organic bananas per year on 585 ha. Its yield remains 30% lower than that of its 1100-ha conventional neighbour, Golden Exotics Limited (G.E.L.). Both plantations share the same location, climate and soils, but differ on strategic points related to the production of organic fruits: fertilization, pest management, and control of postharvest diseases. For G.O.L., fertilization consists of organic nutrient sources, among which compost produced on site. Irrigation is brought through sprinklers, contrarily to the conventional area where fertigation is brought via drip lines. In the absence of chemical pesticides, weeding is done manually, paraffinic oil is the only product used for black Sigatoka control and postharvest treatments rely on the use of citric acid and paraffin film instead of fungicides. As a result, the cost of production is higher for the organic plantation. In addition, the yield is lower, organic bunches being fewer and smaller than their conventional counterparts. Quality is also less reliable, with instances of crown rot observed only on the organically treated fruits. As a result, organic production remains less profitable than conventional production in the case of G.O.L. and G.E.L. However, the learning opportunities provided by this more challenging way of growing bananas can benefit both plantations, especially with the current progressive ban of chemical pesticides and the increasing cost of mineral fertilizers.
Ecochard, L., Normand, A. and Terrisse, G. (2023). Experiences in organic banana production at Golden Organics Limited (G.O.L.), the organic banana production subsidiary of the Compagnie Fruitière Group in Ghana. Acta Hortic. 1367, 55-62
banana, dry tropical climate, organic production, West Africa