Banana pest and disease management in Rwanda by using macro propagation of banana as new technology for crop protection

In Rwanda , banana is grown as an important food and cash crop. However, its cultivation has largely remained small scale. The pests and diseases rank as the most important constraints.

If adopted, macropropagation is one technique that can greatly boost healthy and sustainable banana plantlets. The easy to implement technology involves stimulation of lateral growth of multiple latent buds in a corm within a chamber where humidity and temperature are controlled. One corm is capable of producing 10 to 30 plantlets in four months, but the productivity may vary with banana cultivar and kind of bud manipulation.

  1.  CONSTRUCTION OF PROPAGATORS: Propagators are used for sprouting of new seedlings and hardening of the subsequent sprouts. The propagator compartments can be made using wood or bricks and should measure not more than 0.5 m in height.
  2. FILLING OF CHAMBERS: Propagators are filled three quarter-full with steam-sterilized fine sawdust.
  3. SELECTION OF SUCKERS: Healthy sword or maiden suckers detached from plants that are in between flowering and harvest can be used as source material, as well as corms of plants that are about to flower or that are already harvested.
  4. PREPARATION OF SUCKERS AND PLANTING: Whole corm technique is applied to corms that are about to flower or that are already harvested.
  5. PROPAGATOR MANAGEMENT: During propagator management, it is important that a clean environment is maintained.
  6. POTTING MIXTURE PREPARATION: Potting substrate can come from a wide variety of sources: top soil, sawdust, coffee husk. The potting substrate is steam-sterilized for 12 hours in a drum. The potting substrate should be allowed to cool for 24 hours.
  7. ROOTING AND ACCLIMATIZATION: After about 10 weeks, 10 to 50 secondary shoots will have emerged, each with two to three small leaves. These plantlets are detached. Plantlets being acclimatized should be watered four times a week.

The potential beneficiaries can be local farmers or entrepreneurs; villagers; local business people; women; young people; members of minority groups. In addition, we can talk with local authorities, local Non Government Organizations, village councils (village elders), and so on.

Farmers who receive higher incomes from the farm produce are those who receive higher incomes and motivated by that hence tending to employ all resources necessary to maximize their output.

Finally, in light of the rapidly changing environmental, social and market challenges, the project strongly depends on professional and functioning partnerships and cooperation.

My passion for doing this project is:

  • High pest pressure from weeds, insects, and diseases are a primary problem for banana in the more humid and hot area of Rwanda.
  • Enhancing the resilience of agro-ecosystems in a strategy to revitalize agriculture through the integration of natural resource management coupled with resilient germplasm and marketing approaches.
  • ‘Building Impact Pathways for Improving Lives’  bananas in Musa-based systems.

Emmanuel Nteziryayo, Rwanda


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