CategoriesBanana

Banana Farming in Uganda

Bananas are one of the most consumed foods in the country whether they are in season or not. They are in high demand from the beginning of the year till the end and they are consumed by almost everyone in the country. Easily obtained from the many markets that are found around the different parts of the country, bananas can either be bought when they are ripe or when they are still green depending on what the consumer wants.

Uganda produces over 10 million tonnes of bananas per year and it is also known as the second largest banana producing country with India taking the first place.

banana farming

Types of bananas grown in Uganda

Roasting Bananas

Roasting bananas: these come in various types but the main one is known as Gonja. These can be found in different parts of the country and although other types of bananas can be roasted, the best is Gonja.

Brewing Bananas

Brewing bananasĀ  are mainly grown for brewing local fermented juice known as tonto. Examples of the bananas that are used for brewing include Musa and Mbidde bananas.

Cooking Bananas

Cooking bananas and these are locally known as Matooke and they are green in colour.

Dessert Bananas

Dessert bananas also known as yellow bananas, these come in two types , Bogoya and Ndizi and they can only be eaten when they are ripe. They can also be eaten at any time of the day.

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Planting of Bananas

Research

you need to do extensive research about the types of bananas that are grown in the country so that you do not grow the wrong type of bananas to make losses. Some of the things that you need to look for while doing research include how much profits you will gain, what is needed for the proper cultivation of bananas and if there is market for the type of bananas you have chosen to grow. When you are well equipped with all this knowledge, then you will be ready to start banana growing in Uganda.

Purchase and prepare the land

after doing extensive research, the next step is to get land in case you do not have and then start preparing it for the suckers. You need to make sure that the soil is fertile and the climate experienced in that area is favourable for the suckers. Note that unlike other plants, bananas grow from suckers and healthy ones at that. When the land is well prepared, get suckers from other farmers or go to agricultural shops and get the type of sucker bananas that you need.

Prepare the suckers and then transplant

get healthy suckers and then transplant them to the main garden. This is done either early in the morning or in the late afternoons. When transplanting, make sure that you do not damage the suckers most especially the roots and keep on watering them till you see the green leaves start sprouting up. If you are planting in drier areas, improve on your irrigation especially during the flowering time. You also need to space the suckers with a distance of 3.0m to 4.0m.

Pruning and caring for the bananas

pruning needs to be done regularly to avoid the growth of extra suckers because these greatly affect the growth of the bananas. If you want to have bigger banana yields, you will need to de-sucker the plants and leave at least three pseudo stems on each corn and this should be done when they are still in the early stages of growth. The bananas will also need to be propped in order to avoid the plant from breaking.

Make sure that there is proper management of soil in order to get good yields and these are mulching, adding household wastes to the garden in order to improve the soil fertility and also introducing intercropping. Bananas grow well with other plants especially legumes therefore if you have enough space it is advisable that you plant beans, peas and maize with the beans to improve the soil.

Bananas are prone to wind and they will need to be planted in a way that they protect each other from wind. The best way to plant the bananas is through block planting as this protects them from the wind. Banana fruits are prone to bruises and need to be protected. One of the local and best ways you need to protect the fruits from bruises is by bagging the fruit.

Harvesting bananas and post-harvest

the different types of bananas take different times to mature and the area where they are planted also affects the time for harvest. Bananas take about 8 to 12 months to reach maturity and when harvesting please avoid the fruit from falling onto the ground as this causes damages to the fruits and this can be done by placing soft material along the ground. They are then further protected by placing dry banana leaves around them. Harvesting is best done early in the morning and evenings to avoid the sunlight.

The banana bunch is cut from the stem when the fingers turn to light green. After cutting off the bunch, you need to cut the plant till ground level.

Uses of bananas

  • They are used in making art craft from the fibres like mats, baskets among others.

  • The leaves are used for steaming the different types of food

  • The suckers are used for replanting

  • They are also used as animal feeds

  • The leaves can also be used for mulching the gardens.

  • The yellow bananas are used in making different products like juice, pancakes and cosmetics.

How to earn more from banana farming

There is a ready market for all the types of bananas that are grown in Uganda across the country and these are transported to the different markets. The price for the bananas depends on the area where you are buying them from. Besides the local market, you can add value to the bananas by exporting them to other countries as food, in powdered form and you can also sell them to companies that make juice, cosmetics and baby food.