Methods of Harvesting

Method 1

The best way to harvest a banana plant is to cut the bunches from the top and leave the stem standing. Rather than killing the plant immediately, this method allows it to shut down gradually, sharing nutrients with young suckers around.

The daughter plants will grow normally around the stem and will not have to fight for resources. Bunches should be removed from the stalk with a sharp knife, allowing the latex (or sap) to fall on to the soil and not on to other fruit.

The bunches must not be dropped, but should be placed on the ground on top of a freshly cut banana leaf. Fruit that is bruised during harvesting has a shorter post- harvest life, ripens quickly, and may not have good eating quality.

Method 2

Some farmers cut their plants at the bottom of the stem. This causes the plants to fall and shut down immediately. Plants that are harvested in this way are unable to share any nutrients with their daughter plants.

As a result, the daughter plants are left fighting other suckers for resources. This method also encourages weevils (who feed at ground level) and is not recommended.

It is also not good practice to remove the best fingers from the bunches, this will reduce the quality and is ultimately cheating the customer.

Whichever method is used, it is vital that ALL cut plant material is removed from the field. If it isn’t, weevils and other pests will multiply.

Another advantage of using Method 1 is that there will be much less cut material to clear from the field, making the task quicker and easier, especially for farmers with large plantations. Once the removed material has rotted and dried, it can be recycled as mulch and manure.

National Banana Research Program (NBRP) is a program under the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) with mandate to develop and promote technologies for enhancing the contribution of banana value chains for food security & Agro - Industrialisation.
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