Farmers tipped on banana varieties

By Henry Neondo

KENYAN farmers have been asked to switch to growing tissue culture bananas as it offers better yields and mature earlier than traditional varieties.

Speaking at an ongoing training workshop on biotechnology and biosafety in Nairobi, David Wafula, a research fellow at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS, said that at 14 tonnes of banana per hectare with traditional banana, farmers achieve less than a third of the crop’s potential.

He said that a study carried out on tissue culture banana varieties in Thika, Kisii and Mtwapa showed increased monthly earnings of US$150 compared to US$55 from the traditional variety. This he said is 172 per cent increment in earnings.

He cited susceptibility to pest and disease, high water intake and high labour intensive and longer maturity periods as some of the reasons why traditional banana offer low yields.

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