Wetenschap - 1 januari 1970

Crop sanitation can increase banana yields

Crop sanitation can increase banana yields

Crop sanitation can increase banana yields


PhD graduate Michael Masanza from Uganda studied the behaviour of the
banana weevil, and came up with a number of simple cultivation practices to
reduce the negative effects of this tiny pest on banana yields. Measures
such as destroying corms and covering the crop remains after harvest can
reduce the number of banana weevils, thereby significantly increasing
yields. Masanza will now return to his country to work on a project that
disseminates information among poor banana growers in Uganda.

Bananas are one of the most important food crops in Uganda, one of the
reasons being that the fruits can be harvested all year round. Banana
growers in central and south-west Uganda however, experience a lot of
problems with the banana weevil, Cosmopolites sordidus. In his research
Masanza showed that it is the larvae of the weevil that do the most damage,
as they eat the corms and pseudostems. This causes the plants to produce
fewer bananas and to fall over more easily during storms. Young banana
plants are particularly susceptible to this nocturnal pest that is
difficult to detect. The weevil rarely moves and can survive for up to four
years.

Because the banana weevil completes its life cycle in banana residues, it
is possible to reduce the population by cutting down and drying the crop
remains. Additional measures which help to further reduce pest numbers
include crop sanitation practices such as planting groundcover in the form
of grasses. These cultivation practices are labour intensive but cheap and
lead to increased yields. “The big problem remains however information
dissemination, as in so many places,

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