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BANANA

TEACHING GUIDE

Developed by Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture with support from SNV Netherlands Development Organization

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture wishes to acknowledge and thank the Provincial Education Director for Manicaland, the District Education Office in Mutasa District, SNV Netherlands Development Organization and the staff at St. Columbas Primary School, St. Peters Primary and Secondary Schools for their support, guidance and advice in producing the teaching and learning materials for bananas. These materials include the Banana Teaching Guide, the Banana Teaching and Learning Framework and the Banana Production Manual for Primary School Leavers and Pupils. Further, the expertise and work done by Marymount Teachers College and Mutare Teachers College need to recognized.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION 3

2. APPROACH TO BANANA TEACHING

3. ESTABLISHING A BANANA PLANTATION

4. PREPARATION

5. PLANTING

6. MAINTENANCE

7. RECOMMENDED BANANA PRODUCTION CALANDER

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1. INTRODUCTION
This teaching guide outlines the tools that are recommended for use in the teaching of banana lessons in schools. These are the banana demonstration plot and calendar. The deliveries of banana lessons need to have a direct link with these two teaching resources so as to make them as practical and beneficial as possible. The lesson plans need to relate to the activities taking place at the demonstration plot according to the banana operations calendar. The guide gives a description of the recommended approach to teaching the banana syllabus before giving a set of guidelines for the establishment of a banana plantation. A recommended banana calendar is also given at the end of the teaching guide.

2. APPROACH TO BANANA TEACHING


Since the teaching of the subject is of technical vocational educational relevance, the approach advocated for in this teaching guide is one that emphasises more practical applications than theory. Establishment of a school banana demonstration plot is therefore an ideal starting point. This may not need to be too big if resources are a constraint. The size can be as little as 200m2, although a larger one would be ideal for proper learning. It would be important to ensure that: The banana calendar is the banana calendar is consulted when drawing up lesson plans. Aspects in the syllabus should be taught when they can be demonstrated in the banana plantation for example planting lessons can either be taught in the January-February or August-September periods. Pupils fully participate in all the activities on the demonstration plot. At least 50 per cent of the time available for banana teaching should be spent on practical demonstrations and applications Each practical session should be at least 35minutes long Teaching follows a chronological order for as far as possible Pupils gain additional exposure through field tours to commercial establishments if resources permit

3. ESTABLISHING A BANANA PLANTATION


This chapter is meant to give a practical guideline to how school administrations can develop a banana plantation and use it as a learning tool for pupils. This approach is part of a broader view of enhancing banana productivity in Zimbabwe. Establishing and maintaining a plantation of 20m x 20m costs about $471 in the first year and approximately $225 per year in the subsequent years. Such a plot can produce a yield of up to 2 tonnes.

It must also be emphasized that some of the chemicals used in the maintenance of the plantation, like Temik used to control nematodes, can be extremely hazardous hence use and storage of such chemicals need strict supervision from school administrations. Getting Started Important considerations in the development of a plantation should be made to the following aspects: The cost of establishing and maintaining the plantation Siting of the plantation Timing of operations

Costs of Establishing and Maintaining a Plantation The following is a summary of the costs involved in establishing a 20m x 20m plantation and maintenance costs for the first year, based on a target yield of 50 tonnes per hectare: YEAR 1 US$ Seed material (tissue cultured 80 plants @1.20USD per plant) Fertilization (Lime, Compound C and Compound J) Pests, diseases and weed control Irrigation (excl. labour) Labour (60 labour days@ 2USD per labour day) Total 96 90 55 110 120 471 Annual subsequent costs US$ 30 30 90 75 225

The economic life of a plantation is estimated to be 15 years after which period, it must be destroyed. Yield potential will also decline over the years as the soils natural fertility declines. Fertilizer requirements are lime (80-160 kg at planting), Compound C (30-50 kg at planting) and Compound J (60 kg per year but applied every month) Traditional suckers and corms can also be used instead of tissue cultured seedling. Although they cost less, about 20 US cents, the disadvantage is that there is a high risk of nematode and diseases carry over. Irrigation costs were based on prevailing ZINWA rates but will vary significantly depending on the system being used. The cost estimates are also based on the prevailing costs of inputs and labour in Honde Valley and thus may also vary with place

4. PREPARATION
Siting the plantation Irrigation or water availability is a prerequisite requirement in siting a plantation. Other important considerations are: Site should be frost free as bananas are very susceptible to frost damage Soils should be deep and well drained. Heavy clays need to be avoided because of poor drainage in as much as sands should as they harbour nematodes. Site should have been free of banana growth for at least three months. If an old banana plot is to be used, in addition to a three months rest period , all banana corms and roots should be removed Laying out the plantation Considerations should be given to: Slope The slope affects the direction of marching of the plantation which should always be up the slope to prevent the plantation from growing out of the soil. The slope also affects the direction of throw of bunches. Drainage Layout should allow for sufficient drainage Mulching Correct orientation of mulching rows helps in reducing erosion especially on slopes. Mulching rows need to be across the face of the slope as opposed to along the slope. Irrigation systems The layout may be affected by the existing irrigation system especially the positions of hydrants (where water enter the field from the source) and laterals (pipes that take water from the hydrants into the field). The direction of march and bunch throwing are critical in planning for the plantation layout. As a rule, the following criteria should be used: Always march uphill on slopes either directly or at an angle. Avoid marching in the North Western direction unless you are being limited by slope direction. The North Western direction is the direction in which most bunches will be thrown because of maximum sunlight exposure in this direction. If a North Western is chosen, then follower suckers may grow into bunches. On level ground a North Easterly to Easterly direction should be preferred Marking out the plot Once the following layout has been established, marking out of the plantation can proceed. The tools will be required: About 80 pegs, each about 40 cm long 50m long string or rope for establishing straight lines Measuring tape

Follow the following steps 1. Establish the starting line 2. Pull a 50m string along the first line 3. Along this line, use a measuring stick to establish your 2.1m in-row positions

4. Now measure 2.4m from the starting point and move the 50m string so that it is moving parallel to the first row of pegs 5. Establish a right angle to the first peg and where it crosses the 50m string, place your first peg of the first peg of the next row and again measure tour 2.1m inrow spacings. 6. Repeat the process for further rows 7. When correctly marked out , the pegs should line out in all directions, including diagonally as shown in fig 1 in the appendix . Figure 1: lay out of plantation

NB: These peg positions are not planting positions. Digging holes The following tools will be required: Hoe, Shovel, Planting stick (2.1m long with a notch at the middle). Follow the following steps: 1. Place the planting stick between two peg positions and mark the middle position between the pegs as it corresponds to the notch on the planting stick. This is the position where the hole will be dug. 2. Dig the 45cm x 45cm x 45cm hole and separate topsoil and subsoil on either sides of the planting rows 3. Fill up the holes with water a day before planting commences.

5. PLANTING
The ideal planting times are in January and August. Bananas planted in January tend to take longer to mature as they are retarded by the winter period early in their growth than the August plantings. It is necessary to plant at the ideal time in order to avoid frost damage. The month of November in particular should be avoided at all costs as it exposes the crop to frost at the critical stage of flowering initiation resulting in malformed bunches and fruits, a condition called November Dump. It is important to ensure that damage to seedlings is minimized especially by reducing direct exposure of roots to sunlight. If there are variations in the sizes of seedlings, plant same sized seedling in the same rows for uniformity. Follow the following steps when planting; 1. Put the first 30g of Compound C fertilizer on the topsoil side pile and mix 2. Fill the hole with topsoil, enough to obtain the correct planting depth NB: Planting depth is very important. Ensure that the top of the planting medium is 10-15cm below the basin surface. This will ensure that the corm does not grow out of the ground, which makes the plant susceptible to falling over. As a role it is better to plant too deep than too shallow 3. Gently remove the pot by cutting the bottom open and lifting the sleeve upwards. 4. Place the plant in the hole, positioning it in such a way that it is in line with the notch on the planting stick see fig. 2.
Figure 2: Positioning the plant in the hole

5. Place the second 30g of Compound C fertilizer around the plant, inside the hole, but not in touch with the roots. 6. Cover with 10cm of soil and place the third 30g of Compound C in the hole.

7. Make about 90 cm diameter basin around the plant and make sure that the basin is able to hold water. 8. Place the fourth 30g of Compound C in the basin and make sure that the fertilizer is well incorporated into the soil 9. Press gently to reduce air pockets and fill the basin with water, that is about 25 litres. 10. Two to three weeks after planting, apply 16g of a chemical called Temik per plant. Dig a shallow trench of about 4 to 5mm and spread the Temik evenly in the trench and cover up immediately. NB: Temik is extremely hazardous and should therefore be handled with extreme caution. 11. Check and replace unsatisfactory plants 1 to 2 months after planting.

6. MAINTENANCE
Irrigation For the first fortnight after planting hose and basin irrigation, where you pour water into the basin using a hosepipe, is recommended in order to consolidate soil around the roots. Beyond the fortnight as the roots begin to grow beyond the basin circumference, overhead irrigation become more important. Avoid over-irrigation, where water end up running off the field, in the early periods after establishment as this restricts root development. Fertilization Apply 80g of Compound J at a rate of 80g per station every month except in June and July when there will be very limited growth. Weeding Ensure the plantation is kept weed free Try to avoid use of hoes as they damage the shallow roots of the banana plant Hand pulling in the basin is recommended Around the basins weeds can be controlled by use of herbicides like Gramoxone and Round up On sloped land it is recommended to just slash the weeds around the basins so that their root systems will continue to hold the soil together and reduce erosion. Sucker Selection for Succession and de-Suckering The right sucker should be selected to succeed the mother plant once the mother plant is about 1.5m tall. Cut off the first flush of suckers at ground level so that they come out with renewed vigour. Select the best placed follower sucker relative to the desired direction of march The follower sucker should be sword shaped. Discard water suckers which do not bear the same shape as these have a weak attachment to the mother plant Remove any sucker not selected as follower sucker either by destroying or harvesting them for re-establishment of new plantation Trimming All dead leaf material should be pruned off to ensure maximum light penetration. These may also harbour pests and diseases.

Mulching Once plantation has been mulched, then it must not be left dry for too long as this encourages termites. Propping Ensure that the plants are supported by timber props particularly at bunch throwing to ensure that the bananas do not fall over under their own weight. Pests and Diseases Although there are not many diseases of bananas in the subtropics, it is important to continuously scout for any diseases in the plantation. Mole rats (nhuta) are particularly troublesome pests of bananas. Calcium phosphate tablets can be used to control the pests. Sufficient irrigation will also keep away mole rats. Nematodes can be controlled through proper siting and use of Temik as already discussed Bunches may also be covered with sacks to reduce bruising action by baboons, monkeys etc. Harvesting Proper handling at harvesting is vital as banana quality is severely affected by bruises and cuts and will not sell well. At least three people should be involved in harvesting The bananas should be removed from the bunches as hands which should be cleaned before packaging Care should be taken to ensure that the juice from the cut hands do not spill on to the banana as this compromises quality If bananas are to be transported over some distance to the market, then this must be done in crates, preferably in the evening to reduce sunburn. Alternatively refrigerated trucks can be used.

7. RECOMMENDED BANANA PRODUCTION CALENDAR

Field operation Nursery Practice Site Selection Land Preparation Marking Out Planting Fertilizer Application Weed Control Pest and Disease Control Sucker Selection Desuckering Bunch Throwing Leaf Cutting Propping Bunch Care

Oct x x

Nov x x x x

Dec x

Jan

Feb

Mar x

Apr x

May x x

Jun x x x x

Jul x

Aug

Sept

x x x x x x x x x x x x

x x x x x x x

x x

x x

x x

x x

x x

x x x

x x x x x

x x x x x

x x x x x x x

x x

x x

x x

x x x x x x x

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