News, Sub Saharan Africa, Uganda

Assessment of farmers’ knowledge and preferences for planting materials to fill-gaps in banana plantations in southwestern Uganda

October 26th, 2016

215H. Lwandasa, G.H. Kagezi, A.M. Akol, J.W. Mulumba, R. Nankya, C. Fadda and D.I. Jarvis

Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2014, 15 (2): 165 – 178 ISSN 1026-0919

Printed in Uganda. All rights reserved © 2014, National Agricultural Research Organisation

Banana (Musa spp.) plantations in central Uganda used to be productive for 30-100 years. Due to prevalence of the banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus L.), life spans have fallen to only <5 years. This forces farmers to establish new plantations or replant existing ones, usually using infested materials. To determine farmers’ knowledge and sources of planting materials and the cleaning techniques used, a household survey was conducted in southwestern Uganda. Up to 99% of the farmers reported C. sordidus as their major pest, and at least 50% reported gap-filling mainly due to land and banana weevil pressure. Most farmers (>80%) obtained planting materials from home/neighbours’ gardens. Corm paring (recommended for cleaning) was minimal, with 87% of farmers just trimming a few roots from the suckers. Most (90%) farmers preferred maiden suckers for gap-filling, believing that they establish and mature faster, and withstand weevil damage compared with other planting materials. Based on farmers’ experience and the results of an on-station study at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), Kawanda, we recommend the use of maiden suckers when replanting in already infested plantations or those at risk.