Banana is tropical (a place where the average day and night temperature remains almost the same) fruit and quick diet. Sindh is a production hub of bananas in Pakistan where the climate fit for its cultivation. It is claimed that banana only grows in a tropical climate and remaining provinces (Punjab, KPK, Balochistan) are not fit. Its medicinal values play an important role and it is kept in daily usage in the fruit list. In this article, I will discuss the production technology of banana with each aspect. A whole article will be discussed in the following outlines,
- land preparation
- fertilizer and irrigation
- fruit maturity
- ripening of banana
Plantation of banana
There are two methods of banana cultivation, one is the cultivation with plant saplings ( which are produced in an antiseptic environment of tissue culture lab) and the second one is with suckers. The second method is more common in Pakistan which is cheaper. Cultivation through small saplings is expensive but these plants are free from fungal and bacterial diseases. In suckers, there are two types of sucker’s aerial sucker and ground suckers. The aerial suckers are not suggested or recommended by agricultural experts because they are inferior in quality and should be chopped off with leaves when the plant needs cleaning. Just like a date palm, a banana has ground suckers. A mother plant produces single or multiple ground suckers which are complete progeny plants with the same traits. Banana is 9-12 months of crop and the complete plant is chopped off except it roots where the plant starts again new plant, and this is called ratooning. There are two types of banana tree species across the world, one is dwarf banana (also called plantain used for cooking and raw eating) and tall banana which is more common.
Land should be level so that water flow could be smoother and access each plant. For this purpose, a laser leveler is used. The land is plowed deeply, and banana needs that soil which has an optimum capacity of drainage for this purpose sandy loam soil is best. As always it should be fed up with well-rotten farmyard manure so that a natural way of getting macronutrients (NPK) could be possible. Land after plowing should be planked and it is up to the grower whether make the ridges or flat land. Plant to plant distances is maintained at 6-8 ft.
Fertilizer and irrigation
Banana is a feeder and exhaustive plant and needs plenty of NPK requirements. It is suggested that on monthly basis, a proper plan or schedule should be prepared for food and water. It is very important to test the soil in a soil science laboratory so that proper nutrient requirements could be applied. It is suggested that apply the 1.5 kg of NPK per plant should be applied twice a month. Banana has a wider and bigger leaf through which it can be easily understood that banana needs plenty of water and fertilizer. It is suggested that after the report of soil, the recommended micronutrient should also apply in the form of powder or granules. It is suggested that apply the fertilizer 1 ft away from the pseudo stem and cover the fertilizer. Irrigation should be according to condition and one-week interval should be a normal routine.
Banana plant has less insect and diseases issues it is said by the banana growers. It is necessary to make the plant clean and cut out the extra vegetative leaves. It is suggested in case of any pest or disease attack apply the suggested method recommend by agricultural experts.
Fruit maturity and harvesting
A newly planted sucker becomes juvenile and starts giving fruit after 1.5 years and necessary care is needed for the grower. When inflorescence starts getting mature where all hands appear (collectively called as a bunch) and terminal reddish part of the inflorescence appears, then it is necessary to remove that part so that fruit develops the bunch to complete maturity. After removing the heart (terminal reddish part of inflorescence) every bunch should be covered with polythene. Sometimes, farmers cover the bunch with large leaves, and it is necessary to give the support that branch weight may not result in the fruit destruction. For this purpose, bamboo wooden sticks are used. This covered bunch is harvested as it is, and each hand contains 12-20 fruit.
Ripening of banana
It is a rough estimation by the local grower that almost three trucks are ready from one acre of banana field and each truck has 250-260 monds (40kg = 1mond) of capacity. After harvesting banana fruit is delivered to the cold storage where it is ripened in 6 days and ready to go towards the market. It is another business; growers only provide the solid green banana, but the cold storage vendor ripens the fruit and responsible for the market.
I hope this article helps you a lot about “where do banana tree grows in Pakistan” and give the comment below and stay tuned!