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Banana cultivation / banana farming techniques – Andhra Pradesh – Kisan Suvidha
1949
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Banana cultivation / banana farming techniques – Andhra Pradesh

banana cultivation

Banana cultivation / banana farming techniques – Andhra Pradesh

Introduction

Banana is cultivated in an extent of 60,000 ha in the State. It is the third important fruit crop after mango and citrus, occupying 8% of the fruit growing area in the State. Although it is cultivated in almost all the districts, it is extending in East Godavari, West Godavari, Cuddapah, Guntur, Krishna, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Kurnool districts.

Climatic requirement for growing Bananas

Banana performs very well under humid tropical condition but can be cultivated successfully even under humid or semi-arid sub tropical conditions. The growth and yield of most of the varieties are better at a temperature range of 25-30oC.

Soils requirement

 Almost all the agricultural soils are suitable if they are deep, well drained and neutral in reaction. Black loams, red loams and sandy loams of uplands are most suited. The soils should be at least more than 75 cm deep with water table lower than 1.0 to 1.2m, pH 6.5 to 7.5 and less than 1.5% salts.

It requires well-drained soils having a depth of at least 1m. The ideal PH is around 6.5 to 7.5.

Banana varieties

1.Karpura Chakkarakeli (Poovan, Ginni)

This is a popular table banana and the foremost commercial variety contributing to 70% of the total crop area. It is hardy and grows extremely vigorous, under perennial garden and wetland systems of cultivation. Easily recognized by its pinkish-purple midribs and big cylindrical bunches of tightly packed, short, plump, bottlenecked fruits. The fruits are of medium size and have a distinct tip. The rind is thin and pulp cream colored with a sub-acid taste. The bunches keep well, the fingers holding even at late ripeness, with attractive bright yellow color. The plant is immune to Panama disease and is virtually immune to ‘Leaf spot.’ It is also tolerant to poor soils and drought but susceptible to winds. Suitable for transport.     Each bunch weighs 15-18kgs with 9-10 hands and 130-160 fruits. The duration is 12 months, and the spacing is 2 x 2m.

2.Tella Chakkarakeli (Godavari Chakkarakeli)

This variety is considered the best of bananas in Circar districts. The plant is thin and medium size easily recognized by whitish petiole margins. It is not a prolific clone. The bunches are small and loose with short stout slightly curved fruits glistening green and fairly rounded with a conspicuous apex. The rind is thick, pulp yellowish and too soft but tasty with the characteristic pleasant aroma. The fruit is ripe inside, even when the rind is partially yellow and greenish at the tips.

It is highly priced in the market for its characteristic taste, aroma, and quality. The keeping quality is poor. The attachment of the fruit to the cushion is very fragile when raw and is very strong when ripe. It is tolerant to Panama disease but highly susceptible to Erwenia wilt and Sigatoka leaf spot diseases. Each bunch weighs 8-10 kgs with 5-6 hands and 60-70 fruits. The duration is 12 months, and the spacing is 1.8 x 1.8m.

3.Amruthapani (Rastali)

This is a choice table fruit. It fetches premium price over Dwarf Cavendish and Poovan. The plant suckers moderately and is tall and does not bear heavily. The fruit is better in size to Poovan, more rounded with a glossy green color and the tip is less pronounced. The rind is thin and develops and ivory yellow color when ripe. The flesh is white, rather firm but tasty with a characteristic flavor. Occassionally hard lumps develop in the pulp which is a drawback. It is highly resistant to leaf spot but very susceptible to Panama disease. Each bunch weighs 20-23 kgs with 8-10 hands and 100-120 fruits. The duration is 12-13 months and the spacing 2 x 2m.

4.Robusta/Grand Naine (Pedda paccha arati)

It is semi-tall with a little more stature than dwarf varieties. The petiole margins are spread out and tinged purple. It is little less susceptible to wind damage. It has a slightly thicker and more rigid bunch stalk and it is a heavy yielder. The fruits are big, slightly angular, and curved. The ribs are not distinct. The rind color continues to be light green. The pulp is creamy white, soft and buttery. The seed core is prominent. It is suitable for the entire state and occupying the major banana area in the state.  It is very susceptible to Erwenia rot bunchy top and leaf spot but immune to panama disease. Each bunch weighs 25-28 kgs with 10-11 hands and 130-160 fruits. The duration is 10-11 months and the spacing 1.8 x 1.8m.

5. Vamanakeli (Dwarf cavandish, Basrai, Chinna paccha arati, Potti arati, Gidda Vamanakeli, Bhushavali, Chitavali)

This is the widest spread clone in existence. It bears well under a wide range of conditions and is the basis of nearly all the sub-tropical banana trades. It suckers sparsely. Its low stature makes it less susceptible to wind damage than most other banana. However, in winter in the subtropics, the stature permits chilling which a taller clone may avoid, and it is susceptible to ‘Choke’.

The petiole is short, thick and axial channel wide open. Bunches are heavy, compact and pendant. Persistent male flowers are noted. The fruit size is medium to big. The flesh is pale yellow and sweet. The fruit turns yellow on ripening in winter but remains green in summer. Its main defect is poor keeping quality. It is very susceptible to leaf spot and bunchy top but immune to Panama disease. It is suitable for the entire State but poor ratooner. Each bunch weighs 12-15 kgs with 8-10 hands and 120 fruits. The duration is 11 months, and the spacing is 1.5 x 1.5 m.

Cooking Varieties of Banana

1. Bontha

This is the foremost cooking variety of the State. The fruits are long, slightly curved with prominent ridges and blunt apex. The rind is thick and green with whitish pulp. The male bud is also used for culinary purpose. Suitable for entire State. It is resistant to Leaf spot but is susceptible to Panama disease. Each bunch weighs 15 kgs with 5-6 hand and 70-80 fruits. The duration is 13 months, and the spacing is 2 x 2m.

2.Kovvur Bontha

It is a cooking variety and sport with heavier bunches of bigger size and superior quality fruits. Fruits are larger, stout with less prominent ridges and bottle neck apex. The rind is thick and green with whitish pulp. The plants are tall sturdy and sucker freely; the waxy bloom is present over petioles and young regions, susceptible to rhizome rot disease. Tolerant to Sigatoka leaf spot, good cooking quality and it is the only cooking banana variety commercially cultivated in Andhra Pradesh  Fruit bunches are heavy, pendent and not compact, suitable for the entire State. Each bunch weighs 16-18 kgs with 6-7 hands and 75-90 fruits. The duration is 13 months, and the spacing is 2 x 2m.

Season of planting

Banana can be planted through out the year, but planting during June to September is recommended.  For Cavendish varieties and Tella chekkerakeli planting in the month of June is the optimum time to avoid leaf spot diseases.

Propagation

Conventional bananas are propagated through sword suckers of 1.5-2 kg weight selected from healthy gardens.

Tissue cultured plants are becoming popular among farmers as they are not the only virus free but also results in uniform and synchronized harvest, gives 35-45% higher yields over conventional planting material.

Healthy sword suckers of 3 months age having a strong base, gradually tapering to the slender point with one or two narrow swords like leaves at the tip are preferred for planting since it grows faster and comes to bearing early compared to water suckers. Suckers from high yielding and healthy plant crop are selected. If the suckers are small, the crop duration is longer but with more number of fruit. If the suckers are bigger, the crop duration is shorter with less number of fruit but of better size. For traditional varieties corms weighing 1.5-2.0 kg and for Cavendish clone corms weighing 1.25-1.5 kg may be preferred.

Selection of suckers and planting

If any damage is noticed to the corm of the suckers at the time of separation of the sucker from the mother plant, the damaged portion of the corm may be clearly sliced off. The top portion of the pseudostem of the sucker may be given a slant cut leaving six inches pseudostem over the corm. This will facilitate easy draining of plant sap, rainwater, etc., leading to the successful establishment of the sucker. However, in the coastal region, the top portion of sucker is retained while planting and deheaded to 2/3 size in about 20 days when growth is visible to maintain the uniform height of the plantation. All the old roots of the rhizome should also be trimmed.

Sucker treatment

The suckers thus prepared should be dipped in 0.25% Monocrotophos (2.5ml in 1 litre) and 0.5%Copper Oxy chloride (5g in 1 litre) solution for 15-20min   and then planted.

The selected field must be ploughed with mould board plough to a depth of 25-30 cm and allowed to dry for two weeks. Before planting the field should have fine tilth. The dug up pits may be allowed to dry for ten days before planting. Just before planting of the suckers, the dug up soil or fresh top earth mixed with (compost) farmyard manure 10kg, 50g folidol may be filled to three-quarters of the pit.

Banana suckers should not be planted either too deep or too shallow. The suckers must be planted in the center of the pit in such a way that the corm and another two inches of pseudostem over it should submerge in the soil. Press the soil around the sucker to avoid air spaces, to give firm stand to the stem and for the better sprouting of the suckers.

When sword suckers are used as a plant material, the corms should be pared and dipped in a solution of 2.5 ml of Monocrotophos and 5g. of Copper oxychloride per litre for 15 minutes before planting.

Planting of Banana

Spacing

  • Karpura Chakkerakeli, , Amritapani, Kovvur Bontha :   2.0 X 2.0 m
  • Tella Chakkerakeli, Robusta, Grand Naine                      :  1.8 X 1.8 m
  • Dwarf Cavendish (Vamanakeli)                                              : 1.5 X 1.5 m

 

While planting the pits of 45 cm3, should be filled with 5Kg FYM, 250 g Neem cake, 300 g of super phosphate.

Gap filling

The banana suckers strike roots within 10 to 15 days after planting. Maintaining optimum population for unit area always leads to higher yields. So gap filling should be done within 20 days to ensure uniformity in the crop stand.

Banana fertilizer dose

200 – 250g of Single Super Phosphate should be applied per pit before planting. 200 g each of Nitrogen and Potash per plant has to be given as top dressing in 4 equal split doses for heavy soils.For light soils 300g, each of N & K fertilizers per plant should be given in 6 equal splits. Green manuring with sun hemp or Cow pea may be done immediately after planting with 50 kg seed/ha and ploughed in after 35 days.

The doses of fertilizers and time of application vary with the duration of variety and also soil type.

 

Variety

 

Fertilizers to be given No of splits Dose /each split Days after planting
N K Heavy soils Light soils N K For Heavy soils For light soils
Karpura chekkerakeli,

Kovvur bontha

200 200 4 6 50 50 45,90,135,180 30,60,90,

120,150,180

Grand Naine, Dwarf Cavendish 200 200 4 6 50 50 40,80,120,160 25,50,75,

100,125,150

Tellachekkerakeli 250 250             5 50 50 35,70,105,140,175

 

Spraying of Sulphate of Potash (K2SO4) @ 0.5% at 5 and 20 days after last hand opening improves fruit grade and quality.

Irrigation for Banana

The plants are either pot watered or irrigated immediately after planting. About 30-40 weekly irrigations (2.0-acre inches) are required for the banana crop. When the summer temperature crosses 37.8OC irrigation on every 4th day is essential. Light irrigation after every manuring is essential.

Inadequate irrigations to banana lead to delayed flowering, a delayed maturity of fingers, reduced size in the bunch and also poor keeping quality of fruits. The quality of the fruit will also be reduced if inadequate irrigations are given in summer leading to sun scorching.

Fertigation

  • Fertilizer use efficiency is more with increased number of splits.
  • Under fertigation, for heavy soils, 50% of RDF and light soils 75% of RDF is sufficient to harvest higher yield and also reduces the crop cycle by 20 days.
  • Under this 80% of the N&K fertilizers should be given in 20 split doses before shooting at weekly intervals starting from 6th week after planting to 25th week after planting.
  • Remaining 20% of the N& K fertilizers should be given after shooting in 4 splits at weekly intervals from 33rd to 36th week after planting.
  • Under fertigation, 50% of the recommended dose (Applied at weekly intervals) is sufficient to harvest higher yield than RDF and reduces the crop cycle by 20 days.

Intercrops

Short duration leguminous crops like black gram, green gram variety   Cowpea variety, and lab-lab are grown as intercrops. Vegetable crops like lady’s finger, ridge gourd tomato, onion and leafy vegetables can also be grown.  In East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam agency tracts, turmeric, ginger, sweet potato, colocasia, diascorea, and amorphophallus’s are traditional intercrops in banana. With intercropping, the crop duration of banana is extended from 20 to 40 days, but the yields are not affected. Amorphophallus alone or the association with colocasia under banana is profitable.

Mulching

Where pure crops are grown, it is desirable to mulch the garden immediately after planting with banana trash at the rate of 15 t/ha. Mulching controls weeds, conserves moisture, hastens growth and improves yields.

Desuckering Banana plants

Banana starts bearing suckers from 2-3 months after planting. Desuckering or pruning is the removal of unwanted suckers. These suckers have to be removed periodically as otherwise, they compete with the mother plant for water and nutrients, resulting in lower bunch weight and therefore total yield. It may also lead to the heavy incidence of leaf spot disease due to congestion in the interspaces, lack of aeration, sunshine, and high dampness, Desuckering with a sickle at 15-20 days interval, right from the beginning till flowering is to be followed.

The sucker thus removed may grow again. The improved method of desuckering is as follows, a flattened crowbar or an iron rod of 1.2m long and 1.25cm diameter flattened at one end and provided with a wooden handle at the other end should be used for digging out the sucker with a bit of its corm, once in 35 days up to flowering. Once the plant starts to flower, the mother plant should not be disturbed. So, after shooting desuckering should be done by cutting suckers to the ground level with the help of sickle. This method has given good results in research and farmer’s fields.

However, for ratoon crop, one good sucker should be left when the crop has attained 50 % flowering.

Intercultivation

In a young banana garden, luxurious weed growth is seen as the crop is given heavy doses of organic and inorganic fertilizers, frequent irrigation and more of sunlight. Therefore in the young plantation (up to 4 months age), weeding has to be done at 15-20 days interval. As the crop grows, the light intensity gets reduced, and hence it is sufficient that weeding is done at monthly intervals from them on. Where problematic weeds like Cyperus rotundus is the predominant split application of Glyphosate spray @ 2.0 lit/ha effectively controls nut grass and other weeds, as well as induced early shooting and superior yields.

Apart from cultural practices, an integrated management of weeds by inter cropping cowpea, soil mulching with sugarcane trash or paddy straw or spraying of glycel (100 ml of glycel + 100 g Ammonium sulfate in 10/lit. of water)  gives good results. While spraying, care should be taken to avoid drift hazard.

After care

The dry and diseased leaves should be removed and destroyed regularly. Soil mounding is done in the eighth month, and a follower is left for ratoon. At flowering, the plants are propped up with bamboos to protect from strong winds or gales in the coastal region. After flowering is completed, the male flower bud is removed. An insecticidal cum fungicidal spray at this stage ensures fruits. The flag leaf should be bent on the peduncle and tied to protect from sun scorching.

Harvesting and Postharvest Technology

 Banana bunches are harvested in about 2 to 3 months time after flowering. Fully matured bananas are round and free from angular shape and produce metallic sound when tapped. Bananas meant for long distances are cut at 75 to 80 per cent maturity. The bunches with long peduncles are cut to the maximum possible height of the plant.

Immediately few green leaves are wrapped around and carried by carts, bicycles, rickshaws or lorries to the marketing yard, where they are sold either by auction or by bargain to the retailers through a mediating agency for the commission. The retailers normally provide smoke to the bunches for 24 hours in airtight rooms to make them ripe. During ripening the chlorophyll gradually breaks down and the yellow pigments begin to develop until the whole fruit turns bright yellow. In this process of ripening starch is converted into sugar by the action of enzymes and the astringency disappears. The research findings show that banana fruits can be stored well under 62 to 65O F with 85 to 90% of moisture up to 3 weeks.  By using polythene bags and potassium permanganate, keeping quality can be increased.

Fruits are harvested at ¾ the maturity when the angles become less prominent, and fruits on upper hand turn light green.

Banana yield per acre

The average yield of different varieties of banana ranges from 50-60t/ha.

Plant protection

A) Pests of Banana

1. Rhizome Weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) (Mukku purugu, Dumpa puchchu)

It causes dead hearts in banana. The grubs of weevil burrow into the rhizome of the banana plant. The tunnels are mostly circular and increase in size with the growth of the grubs. Injury to corm prevents nourishment going to the plant. Leaves turn yellow, wither and die prematurely. In heavily infected plantations production is low. Later the corm will decay, and the plant may die of. Adult weevil feeds on decaying and dried banana plants. The borers spread from plantation to plantation through planting material.

Control

Select the suckers from healthy gardens. Trim the selected suckers and dip it in the solution of monocrotophos @ 0.2% and plant. Application of 10gm carbofuron granules per plant will keep away the weevil and also Phorate (10g) granules at 10g per plant to control the pest.

2. Banana Rust Thrips (Chaetanaphothrips signipennis) (Tuppu Tegulu)

The pest has yellowish white shaded wings. It causes smoky or red discoloration between individual fingers. The skin becomes reddish brown, roughened and dull in appearance; superficial cracks appear in the discolored skin. The fruits may also split.

Control

Dipping in monocrotophos 0.2% (2 ml/lit) solution to control the spread of the insect. Spray the bunches after emergence with Dimethoate @ 0.2% (2 ml/lit) for effective control of the pest.

3.Root or Burrowing Nematodes (Radopholus similes) (Veru Toluchu Purugu)

 The first visible symptom is a small dark spot on the root. The nematode deposits eggs in the root tissue and when this hatch the larvae also feed on the root. The damaged tissue is reduced, and individual fruits are small. Affected plants do not respond to fertilizers, irrigation or cultural practices. Nematode population is built up rapidly in ratoon crops. The decline is accompanied by leaf chlorosis.

Control

Phytosanitary measures are effective. Do not select suckers from infested areas. Plough the land thoroughly and leave it fallow for some time before planting. Do not plant banana until the soil is free from nematodes for at least six months. Sugarcane is a good alternate crop, trim the corms of the suckers carefully which is to be used for planting. Treatment of suckers with carbofuran 3g granules (45 g/sucker) is important as a control measure, and this should be followed by post application twice at three monthly intervals in the filed.

4.Fruit fly (Dacus cucurbitae, Coquillet)      

The banana fruit fly is minor and sporadic and will lay eggs into both green and ripen fruit. Adult female fruit flies lay their eggs in the fruit, and the maggots develop as the fruit matures destroying the flesh. Oviposition sites can provide entry for rot-producing organisms. The maggots destroy the flesh, and secondary rots, which enter through the oviposition puncture, cause fruit breakdown. The damage is usually concentrated on bunches suffering from physical damage or where mixed ripening of bunches is occurring because of poor plantation management.

Control

Avoid physical damage to bunches since damaged fruit will attract ovipositing females. Maintain good-growing conditions and healthy plants to prevent ‘mixed ripe’ bunches. Harvest fruit at the green mature stage. Cut up bunches left unharvested in the field to speed up breakdown and prevent field breeding. Remove neglected plantings to reduce the build up of a fruit fly. Pheromone trapping with methyl eugenol and replenishing the traps every fortnight during fruit development stage.

B) Banana diseases

1.Panama Wilt (Fusarium Oxysporum) (Panama Tegulu)

It is a soil born disease. The mycelium of the fungus spreads through the vascular bundles, leaving a brown or dark red strain in rhizome and pseudostem.  First, the lower leaves become yellow and at the lower parts of the petioles or midribs, the leaves collapse and hand down around the plant. In younger plants, the unfurling leaf goes yellow first and dies off. The time for infection and wilting is about two months. The disease spreads to other gardens through planting material and also through irrigation or rain water. The variety Amrutapani is highly susceptible to this disease.

 Control

Planting disease-free materials, avoiding ill-drained soils, growing resistant varieties like Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta and Karpura Chakkarakeli and growing wet paddy preceding banana will ensure against an incidence of Panama disease in banana plantations. Destroy the badly affected clumps after uprooting the corm.

2.Leaf Spot (Sigatoga) (Mycospharella Musicola, Sigatoga Aakumacha Tegulu)

The premature death of large areas of the plants, leaf surface and in some cases, the entire leaf is affected. In severe cases, the fruit does not develop or mature since the photosynthetic area is drastically reduced. In less severe cases, the size of the bunches drastically reduced. The fruit may also ripen pre-maturely with abnormal flavour. The earliest symptoms seen in the infested plants are small chlorotic spots or streaks on the leaves. Later on, they unite into bands, parallel to the leaf lateral veins. The streaks darken and expand laterally to form elliptical brown spots on leaves. When numerous spots form closely they all unit and form large dead patches. In warm, humid weather they spread and form large dead patches. In warm, humid weather, the spread of the disease will be quick and severe.

Control
Cultural
  • Maintain proper sanitation in the gardens.
  • Remove and destroy dry and diseased leaves.
  • Ensure proper drainage, clean cultivation, timely desuckering and optimum spacing.

Two pre-monsoon sprayings with Dithane M-45 @ 0.25% or Chlorothalonil @ 0.2% and two post monsoon sprayings at ten days interval with Tridemorph or Propiconazole 0.1% will prevent the incidence and the spread of disease.

C) Viral diseases

1.Bunchy top virus (Transmitted by aphids)

It is a virus disease. The first leaf affected shows green streaks, on the secondary veins, on the under side of the leaf lamina on the midrib and petiole. The streaks are about 0.75mm wide and vary in length up to 2.5cm. Powdery bloom covers the midrid and petioles. Subsequently, the other infected leaves show the same symptoms. The leaves will be brittle and show maginal chlorosis and curling. The affected plants are highly stunted, and the leaves are reduced in size and crowded at throat showing, rosette appearance. The infected plants may throw small bunches which will not develop or often fail to flower. The disease is transmitted by the insect vector aphids, i.e., pentalonia nigronervosa.

Affected plants are characterized by marked stunting and bunching of leaves. The crown leaves are undersized, narrow and chlorotic. Broken dark green streaks on pseudostem, sheaths, midrib and secondary veins are conspicuous. The disease causes the total loss in yield as the affected plants do not flower.

Control         

Rogue and remove diseased plants. Control insect vectors through insecticides. Fortnightly sprays of Dimethoate or Methyl demeton @2ml/lit reduce the aphid population.

Destroy the diseased plant as soon as the symptoms of infection are noticed. However, before removing the diseased plants, spray with megacystis 0.05% (2 ml/lit) or dimethoate 0.06% (2 ml/lit) to keep the plants free from insect vector. Disease-free suckers must be selected for planting new gardens.

2.Streak virus (Transmitted by mealybug)

Karpura chekkerakeli is highly susceptible to this disease. Early symptoms are discontinuous yellow streaks along the blade or midrib which turn into discolored patches. Necrosis appears on the lower side of the sheath, eventually leading to drying of leaves, causing 30-40% losses in yield.

Control

plant disease-free suckers.

3.Bract Mosaic (Transmitted by aphids)

The disease is characterized by the development of black streaks on the petiole, yellow or pinkish colouration on pseudostem and mosaic-like purple spindle-shaped streaks on the bract. In severe cases, pink streaks continue on the lower surface of the midrib. Suckers show unusual reddish brown streaks at emergence and separation of leaf sheath from the central axis. Clustering of leaves at the crown with at traveller’s palm appearance, elongated peduncle, and half filled hands are its characteristic symptoms. Yield losses are recorded to be 75-90%.

Control

Use disease-free planting material.

4.Infectious Chlorosis

 Symptoms vary greatly from very mild streaking on the leaves to stunting, interveinal necrosis, and death of the plant. Stunted plants have a rosette appearance due to bunching of leaves. The most invariable symptom is the presence of yellow streaking on the older leaves with the streaks usually running from the midrib to the edge of the blade. The disease causes yield loss up to 50-60%.

 Control

destroy the diseased stools and plant disease free suckers in the new areas. check weeds by spraying herbicides, and do not grow cucurbits as intercrops.

5. Mosaic (Transmitted by infected suckers)

 The disease is characterized by mosaic or discontinuous linear or spindle-shaped streaks on the leaf, either distributed over the leaf lamina or in bands of half in an inch or more in width, extending from margin to midrib. Severely affected leaves show greenish-yellow mottled look. The infected plants remain stunted in growth. The disease is caused by a strain of TMV. It causes 5-10% losses in yield.

Control

Use virus free planting material. Rogue out Infected plants from the field to avoid further spread.

 

Source – 

  • Dr. Y.S.R. Horticulture University, Andhra Pradesh.

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