A farmer finds money tap in cultured bananas

A famer who bought a South African tissue cultured plantlet from a neighbour 15 years ago has turned the single stick into a money tap by propagating more planting materials for sale.

 

Peter Munga bought a sucker of Short-Kampala from an agronomist neighbor, but saw an opportunity in the many farmers who were looking for the species from this one source.

 

Attractive and lucrative

 

This variety, which can give a more than 90 kilogramme if managed well, is most preferred for ripening.

 

“Most traders like this type because of the short, but heavy individual fingers of the banana. Besides being sweet, it has a strong sharp yellow attractive colour that sells it to the eye of a customer,” he says.

 

Sourcing the suckers from a mature plant is time consuming and less productive, he says.

READ ALSO: Super fertilizer for bananas

 

Raising plantlets

 

That is the reason Munga had to start using one mature plant, which he buries in soil horizontally. More than 20 plantlets spout and mature of sale in less than one month. With proper watering and fertiliser application, he can raise more than Sh4,000 per one banana tree.

 

A plantlet is ready for transplanting at one and half to two feet in height.

READ ALSO: EU support banana farming in Taita Taveta

 

“Some farmers get it wrong when they plant a sucker of more than four feet. I have learnt from experience in this sector that it is not no healthy. It is a disturbance because distabilises multiplication of cells at the more than four feet,” he said.

 

With proper crop husbandry, Short-Kampala variety would yields the first fruit after 10 months.

 

Staking

 

In spite of being a ‘gigantic’ variety, it rarely requires staking because of its strong stem.

 

But if the farm is in windy areas, it is advisable to stake banana to secure it against premature falling.

 

‘Y’ or forked posts are the best in staking the banana trees, but then they are not available, a farmer can improvise.

 

For the few which he has raised in his farm, he sells between Sh800 and Sh1,200 for every full banana.

Munga can be reached on 0712021956