The recommended spacing for planting plantain is 3m between the plantain rows and 2 m within the row (in other words = 3 m x 2 m). An alternative is 2.5 m x 2.5 m. If spaced 3 m x 2 m, 1 hectare should contain 1667 plants, but with a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m, it should contain 1600 plants.
Rows should be straight in flat fields to give plants the maximum amount of sunlight.
However, on sloping land, rows should follow the contour lines in order to decrease soil erosion.
Now let us discuss the comprehensive step by step guide on how to start your plantain farming business proper below:
To Start a Plantain Farming (Plantain Plantation) Business
(1) Get a Land
You can lease or buy a plot of land at least to setup your Plantain farm. Any farmland you select should have the right type of soil and located in an area with favorable weather condition for the growth of plantain.
Loamy soils are the best producing soils for plantain farming because they contain a good organic to inorganic ratio. Organic materials, such as decaying plants and insects, provide soil with air, nutrients and water-retaining matter.
This combination of ingredients, when combined with mineral particles, allows soil to remain loose and fertile. The land should be naturally fertilized but If such is not available, you can create compost and add chicken manure to your existing land.
(2) Prepare the Plantain Field
Fields are to be prepared with minimum disturbance to the soil (no-tillage farming). The activities involved in preparing the land include clearing the land of bushes, trees, stones, stumps, etc. Land preparation also involves tilling the land and application of manure to improve land fertility (for less fertile land).
In consequence, manual clearing should be preferred to mechanical deforestation because bulldozers always remove topsoil with the important organic matter and compact the remaining soil.
Read Also: The Importance of Plantain Farming Business
(3) Get Healthy / Hybrid Plantain Suckers
Plantain Suckers are shoots which develop from the bud of the mother plantain plant. They should have small, spear-shaped leaves and are about four feet high.
Make sure you approach reputable farmers that can supply you with healthy plantain suckers that are free of diseases. The suckers should be planted two to five meters away from each other.
Plants are grown through suckers. Suckers are those that grow from a dying, mature plantain plant that can be transplanted and re-grown. They are outgrowth (shoot) which develop from the bud at the base or corm of the mother plantain plant.
Plantain suckers mostly contain short and narrow leafs on them. There are three major varieties of plantain suckers: water suckers, maidenhead and sword sucker. Choose suckers from plants that are vigorous Keep around two to five meters between planted suckers.
In the early days of your plant, keep them moist but not too wet as they don’t have leaves yet to evaporate the water.
A freshly peeled healthy corm ought to look white, but corms infected by stem borers and nematodes show brown and black spots which have to be removed until only white tissue remains.
Note that there are 3 types of plantain suckers. They are peeper sucker, maiden sucker, and sword sucker.
- Peeper sucker; is a small sucker emerging from the soil;
- Maiden sucker; is a large sucker with foliage leaves. It is a good planting material as it grows strong, produces great yields and is resistant against pests and diseases.
- Sword sucker is a large sucker with lanceolate l It is the best conventional planting material. It grows strong and produces great yields and is resistant against pests and diseases.
(4) Selecting Cultivars
For field cultivation, medium plantains should be preferred to giant ones even though giant plantains produce heavier 12 bunches.
Giant plantains take longer to produce and are more likely to be damaged by strong winds because of their size.
(5) Plant the Suckers
Suckers are planted immediately after field preparation during mid rainy season.
Plant holes are prepared with a minimum size of about 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm. The sucker is placed in the hole and its corm is covered, first with the topsoil and then with the bottom soil. Give five meters gap between plants and keep the plants moist at the early days.
Do not over wet the soil because the leaves are not yet out for much water evaporation.
(6) Required Spacing: Plantain Planting Spacing
Like earlier mentioned above, the recommended spacing is 3 m between the plantain rows and 2 m within the row (in other words = 3 m x 2 m). An alternative is 2.5 m x 2.5 m.
If spaced 3 m x 2 m, 1 hectare should contain 1667 plants, but with a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m, it should contain 1600 plants.
Rows should be straight in flat fields to give plants the maximum amount of sunlight. However, on sloping land, rows should follow the contour lines in order to decrease soil erosion.
Suckers are planted immediately after field Plant holes are prepared with a minimum size of about 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm. Care should be taken to separate the topsoil from bottom soil. The sucker is placed in the hole and it is covered, first with the topsoil and then with the bottom soil.
The recommended spacing is 3 m between the plantain rows and 2 m within the row (in other words. 3 m x 2 m). An alternative is 2.5 m x 2.5 m. If spaced 3 m x 2 m, 1 hectare should contain 1667 plants, but with a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m, it should contain 1600 plants.
Read Also: Selecting the site for Plantain Cultivation
(7) Control The Weeds
Weeding is important as weeds compete with the plantains for the soil nutrient. Manual labour can be employed or chemicals like Herbicides can be used to control weeds.
Also, if you are to apply fertilizers, make sure they have a good dose of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen (PNK).
The fertilizers should be placed in a circle four to eight feet from the trunk and should be applied once a month to stimulate growth.
Use traditional weed control of employing laborer to do the weed cutting. Plantain do not need complicated pruning. Just remove dead leaves and dead plants near the plantain.
Also remove suckers from the plant keeping only one or two that have spear shaped leaves.
(8) Manure / Fertilizer Applications
Use an NPK fertilizer, or a fertilizer mixed with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Fertilizing the plantains once a month will stimulate growth.
In 8-10 months, the plantain fruit will be ready for harvesting. Plantains will always produce more fruits until the harvest season is over.
Here is what happens, within 8-10 months your plantain should be ready to produce, and as one is getting matured for harvest, another one is replacing it, they continue in that circle removing any stress expenses of planting again.
All you do is to harvest and reap your profits all year round. The same thing apply to Banana.
There is still a shortage of supply for the high demand of plantain. After harvest, it can be sold to households, plantain chips firms or plantain flour makers.
If you have the capital, you can process it into plantain flour and sell for more profit. Additionally, do not rule out the possibility of trading in the international market.
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