Assessment of farmers’ knowledge and preferences for planting materials to fill-gaps in banana plantations in southwestern Uganda
October 26th, 2016
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.