Banana Cultivation in India
Banana is one of the important fruits of the world, especially of the tropics. It is often called as Apple of paradise. Banana accounts for the highest production among the fruits and contributes to 31% of the total production. In India it is cultivated in 0.482 M ha area with the total production of 16.167 MMT and productivity of 33.5 MT/ha. The major Banana Cultivating states are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. In West Bengal it occupies an area of 18,900 ha with the total production and productivity of 0.335 MMT and 17.7 MT/ha respectively. It contains nearly all-essential nutrients including minerals and vitamins and has several medicinal properties. Banana is a rich source of energy. The flower-buds and the central core of the pseudo-stem are utilized to prepare tasty food dishes. Banana leaf is used as a “biological plate” for serving food. Attractive napkins, placemats, carry bags etc….are made from banana fiber.
Banana (Musa-paradisiaca) belongs to the family Musaceae. In West Bengal, Dwarf Cavendish, Champa, Mortman, Rasthali, Amrit Sagar, Giant Governor and Lacatan varieties are generally grown.
Banana is irrigated through furrow irrigation and propagated by suckers, which takes more time for flowering and fruiting compared to micro propagated plantlets with drip irrigation. N, P and K fertilizers are applied in one or two doses. However, fertigation with drip system can enhance plant growth and fruit yield to a great extent.
Suitable agro climatic conditions
Banana is essentially a tropical plant requiring a warm humid climate. It can be grown in areas with temperature ranging from 100 C to 400 C and with an average temperature of 230 C.
Successful cultivation of banana requires deep, well-drained, friable loamy soil with adequate organic matter.
Preparation of land
The land should be deeply ploughed, harrowed and leveled. Prior to planting, pits of 1000 cm3 (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) are dug and filled with a mixture of garden soil and FYM (50:50). The micro propagated plantlet sucker is planted in the center of pit.
The sterilization of the soil can be achieved by both physical and chemical means. Physical control measures include treatments with steam and solar energy. Chemical control methods include treatments with herbicides and fumigants. Soil sterilization can also be achieved by using transparent plastic mulch film, which is termed as soil solarization. During soil solarization, the incoming solar radiation penetrates the transparent plastic film and is absorbed in the soil. The absorbed radiation converts into heat energy, which raises the soil temperature and kills many soil-borne organisms including plant pathogens and pests.
It can be planted throughout the year except in severe winter and during heavy rains when the soil remains very wet. The ideal time (October-November) of planting is after the monsoon season. With assured irrigation, the planting can also be done in February-March. Plant population depends on cultivars, topography and soil fertility. The spacing for dwarf varieties varies from 1.2 m x 1.2 m to 2.0 m x 2.0 m (row x plant).
Drip system requirements
Area: 1 ha, Planting geometry: 2 m x 2 m
Variable items: 63mm PVC/HDPE pipe-54 m, 50 mm ? PVC/HDPE pipe-102 m, 12mm LDPE Lateral-5000 m, Online dripper (4 l/h)-5000 Nos., Control valve-2 Nos., Flush valve-2 Nos., Tees/bends-1 No., Accessories.
Fixed items: Screen filter (15m3/ h)-1 No., Bypass assembly-1 No., Fertilizer applicator-1 No., Accessories.
Area: 1ha, Planting geometry: 1.5m x 1.5 m
Variable items: 63mm PVC/HDPE pipe-54 m, 50 mm ? PVC/HDPE pipe-102 m, 12mm LDPE Lateral-6700 m, Online dripper (4 l/h)-8978 Nos., Control valve-2 Nos., Flush valve-2 Nos., Tees/bends-1 No., Accessories.
Fixed Items: Screen filter (15m3/ h)-1 No., Bypass assembly-1 No., Fertilizer applicator-1 No., Accessories.
Banana is a water-loving plant. After Banana plantation the soil should not be allowed to dry completely. Drip irrigation is most ideal for banana cultivation. Irrigation requirement of banana under drip irrigation varies from 5 l/d to 18.6 l/d/plant at early and peak growth stages of the plant respectively. The frequency of drip irrigation can be daily or alternate days.
Advantages of drip irrigation
Enhances plant growth and yield.
Saves energy and labour.
Most suited for soil having low water holding capacity and undulating terrain.
Reduces weed growth.
Improves fertilizer application efficiency.
Improves quality of produce.
Reduces salt concentration in the root zone
Application of fertilizers
The nutrient requirement of banana is very high. It requires about 150-200g N, 100-150g P and 200-300g K per plant per year. It takes up more nutrients per unit area than almost any other fruit crops. The nutrients are mainly exploited from a very limited soil depth due to shallow root system of the crop. The growth of the plant is severely affected due to nitrogen deficiency and the older leaves show signs of chlorosis. The nutrition requirement can be met in six to seven split doses with drip irrigation (fertigation). Fertigation minimizes the nutrition loss through leaching in conventional irrigation and under heavy rainfall. Application of micronutrients like Fe, Zn, B, Cu and Mn has been found to be beneficial.
Weed-free environment in banana field is essential for conservation of moisture, proper utilization of nutrients as well as for effective control of pests and diseases. Pre-emergence application of Diuron @ 4 kg/ha controls grasses and broad-leaved weeds without affecting the yield and quality of banana. Application of black plastic mulch is most effective to control weed growth and to conserve soil moisture.
Intercropping is possible at early stage of banana plantation. The suitable crops are Radish, Chilli, Brinjal, Yam, Spinach, Cabbage, Turmeric etc.
The particulars of the pests and diseases of banana and their control measures are described below.
Pseudostem borer : Stem borers cause much damage to the plant. The grubs of this pest bore into pseudostem. As a result the leaves turn yellow, wither and untimely the plant dies. Spray of Endo-sulphan (0.4%) or 0.1% Carbaryl (wettable powder) or use of Celphos (3 tablets per plant) inside the pseudostem and plastering the slit with mud controls borer.
Rootstock Weevil : This pest harms banana throughout the year. The grubs bore into rhizomes. Adults hide in leaf sheaths and suckers. Infested rhizomes and stumps should be removed and destroyed, BHC @10% is applied in the pit before planting and 0.3% phosphamidon is sprayed around the base of the affected plant as well as in healthy plants for control of rootstock weevil.
Panama wilt : This disease is most serious in poorly drained soil and in land where planting of banana is done year after year. Affected plants show yellowing of leaves which later hang around the pseudostem and wither. Acid alluvial soils favors spread of this disease. All the affected plants should be uprooted and destroyed. Application of Bavistin (Carbendazim) @ 1 g/l, use of quick lime by mixing with soil (1:3) in the pit and near the base of the plant, dipping suckers with 0.2% Bavistin for 30 minutes before planting are recommended as control measures.
Bunchy top : This is a viral disease. Infected plants show short and narrow leaves together at the top of the pseudostem to form a bunch. Removal of infected plants along with complete rhizome, sprays of Rogor (0.3%) or Monocrotophos (0.05%) are recommended as control measures
Harvesting, yield and quality control
The dwarf cultivars of Banana are ready for harvest within 11 to 14 months after planting, while tall cultivars take about 14 to 18 months to mature. Average yield of banana is 40 to 50 t/ha. Shelf life of banana fruits and their quality can be extended by 3 days or more with the use of ethylene absorbent like vermiculite blocks when they are soaked in potassium permanganate (100 g/l) solution and kept in polyethylene bags.
Post harvest handling and storage
After harvesting, banana can be stored at a temperature of 130 C at relative humidity 85 to 95 per cent for about three weeks. At low temperatures, the banana fruits become black. Storage life can be prolonged by keeping fruits in relatively high concentration of CO2 and low concentration of O2.
Area : 1 ha, Planting geometry: 2 m x 2 m
Fixed cost of drip system : Rs. 60,700
Interest rate : 10.5%
Life of system : 7.5 years
Annual cost of drip : Rs. 17,456
Cost of cultivation : Rs. 30,000
Expected yield : 47 t/ha
Expected Benefit-Cost ratio : 4.54