BANANA PRODUCTIVITY-THE IMPACT OF AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
The phenomenon of progressive yield decline in plantations of banana and plantain is a problem in the small plots of the resource-limited farmers of East, Central and West Africa. Replanting of established plantations due to yield decline may be genetic, pathological, entomological, or agronomic in origin; these factors commonly interact to enhance the problem. This paper discusses the impact of agronomic factors on the establishment and maintenance of high productivity, emphasizing the results of banana field trials conducted for 15 years in South Africa. The initial key to high productivity lies in the effective use of vigorous in vitro planting material. However, to realize this potential, the correct density has to be chosen and the root environment has to be optimal. The effect of density choice, soil preparation, cover cropping, mulching, nutrition, de-suckering, irrigation, and windbreaks on components of productivity are discussed, along with the use of crop physiology and photosynthesis to explain changes in productivity and how these in turn impact on commercial management practices. Finally, an agronomic management strategy for resource limited banana farmers in proposed from the scientific knowledge available.
Robinon, J.C. (2000). BANANA PRODUCTIVITY-THE IMPACT OF AGRONOMIC PRACTICES. Acta Hortic. 540, 247-258