This is the profitable banana farming in Kenya definitive guide with all information and answers to guide you on banana farming in Kenya. Be it you want to start commercial banana farming or banana farming for domestic purpose this guide is prepared specifically for you. Before venturing into banana farming in Kenya there are some of the questions you have been asking yourself we intend to answer all of these questions on this guide;
- Areas where banana farming is done in Kenya?
- How many bananas can one acre of land produce?
- How to start a banana farm
- How profitable is banana farming in Kenya
- Banana pests and diseases in Kenya
- What is the best fertilizer for banana farming?
- How long does it take for bananas to mature
- Banana seed rate per acre in Kenya
- What is the market for bananas in Kenya
- Banana varieties in Kenya
HOW TO GROW BANANAS IN KENYA
Bananas are grown in Kenya from many varieties the varieties of bananas grown in Kenya include;
Ripening varieties: Gross Michel, Apple, Giant Cavandish, Dwarf Cavandish, Williams hybrid, Grand Nain, Vallery, paz, lacatan, Ugandan red, peripeta
Cooking Varieties: Ng’ombe, Ugandan green, Mutahato, GradiShisikame
The suitable ecological conditions for growing bananas in Kenya include altitude of 1800m sea level, warm humid climate, and average temperature of 20-30 degrees Celsius, annual rainfall of between 1000 and 2500 mm
Bananas are planted from seedlings and tissue culture seedlings have been proven to be high quality free from diseases one seedling can cost from 100kshs to 150 kshs
Before planting ensure the area to be planted to is properly cultivated and harrowed and area free from trees or buildings
Plant your bananas on onset of rain to the main field, Under dry conditions dig holes 90cm by 90cm by 60cm, in wet areas dig the holes 60cm by 60cm by 60cm.
Spacing is done depending on variety but mostly make spacing of 3.0m × 4.0m this will result to approximately 450 plantlets per acre. Soil can be mixed with well decomposed manure or DAP fertilizer 40-60kg of decomposed farmyard manure is applied per stool per year before the rains. This is applied on the outer diameter of the canopy. A short-forked hoe is used to incorporate the manure shallowly and carefully, to ensure no root damage. 250-300g of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) should be distributed around each stool per year, together with 125g of TSP, which is worked into the soil.
To provide bigger and higher quality bunches, bananas have to be de-suckered regularly to control any unwanted sucker growth. Only three pseudo-stems should be allowed to remain on each corm: one bearing one half grown, and one just sprouting.
IRRIGATION can also be done to banana plantation in areas with minimal rainfall, yellow leaves should also be removed regularly to allow other leaves to grow remember that to improve on your income you can intercrop bananas with other crops
HARVESTING OF BANANAS
The time for maturity of a bananas depends on area and variety of the bananas planted. A banana plant takes roughly 8 to 12 months to mature. Maturity indices vary widely among varieties. Angularities or fullness of fingers, as well as color change are some of the standard criteria used. Immature bananas are very angular but fill out to a rounded shape at full maturity. Fruits are ready for harvesting 90 – 150 days after fingers start to form. A stem of banana can produce a bunch which weighs 95kgs. Harvesting is done carefully to avoid falling and bruising. You can store the banana on a cold room immediately after harvesting
The average yield is 35 to 45 tons per acre under good management. The economic lifespan of a banana plantation is 8 to 10 years, after which productivity declines. This should proof how profitable is banana farming in Kenya
BANANA MARKET IN KENYA
Meru County is the largest producer of bananas in Kenya, bananas can be exported to international markets or sold locally in markets, supermarkets and institutions.
Other main areas where bananas are grown largescale in Kenya include; Kisii, Nyamira, Embu, Tharaka nithi, Kirinyaga and many other areas
BANANA PESTS AND DISEASES
There are some of the pests and diseases affecting bananas the diseases include; anthracnose, banana speckle, Cordana leaf spot, fusarium wilt,Rhizome rot and Yellow sigatoka
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