TIMP Details

Crop management
Decapitation technique for clean banana planting material
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania

Description of the technology or innovation

Use of clean seed is important for increasing crop production as well as a key strategy for controlling pests and diseases in vegetatively propagated crops such banana. The decapitation technique is a locally available technology that can enhance farmers’ access to clean seed and to germplasm. It is an innovative low cost method for producing clean banana planting materials at farm level. The technique involves selecting a good sucker from the species of plantain or bananas that you want from a plant that is doing well. Plant sucker, then in 5 to 6 months use a knife to bore a hole to destroy the inner part at the level of the stem. The upper part of the plant will automatically die enabling the stock in the ground to give many suckers. Just in two months your suckers will be ready. One can make a small demonstration farm from where suckers for propagating the suckers are multiplied. The false decapitation can give you up to 15 seedlings and you can always return to the demonstration-propagating farm for suckers.

Assessment/reflection on utilization, dissemination & scaling out or up approaches used

For  successful  promotion  and  adoption  of  this  technology  farmers  needs  to  be  sensitized  about  banana farming as a commercial enterprise. Farmers require further sensitization about BXW and its management especially avoiding transmission of the disease through planting materials. There is need for cooperation of the policy makers, NGOs, extensionists, and local leaders in the promotion of the technology.

Current situation and future scaling up

The  decapitation  technology  is  currently  being  used  by  small  holder  farmers  in  two  benchmark  sites  in Kagera  region  of  the  BXW  project  that  was  supported  by  ASARECA  and  coordinated  by  Bioversity International.  Farmers  within  the  community  used  the  banana  planting  material  generated  using  this technology to establish  new  farms or replant  in  areas  devastated by BXW. The dissemination approach that was used to promote this technology was using the dem onstrations as training sites for farmers from within and around the community. The dissemination of the  technology was carried at limited scaled on farm  but  more  work  was  done  on  station  at  Maruku  and  the  BTC  support.  The  FFS  approach  and benchmark site demonstrations can be used to effectively disseminate this technology

Economic Considerations

The technology on requires land, labour for establishment and maintenance and clean planting material.  It was  reported  that  about  20,000  plantlets  can  be  harvested  from  a  hectare  of  decapitated  field  annually. Each plantlet was estimated to cost US$ 0.35 and the enterprise can break even in two seasons.

Gender considerations

The technology is gender sensitive since both women and men farmers in the banana farming systems are the primary target beneficiaries. The technique of decapitation is user friendly as it’s applied at the base of the banana corm and can be used by women and youth having the knowledge of the meristem site.

Case study or profiles of success stories

Decapitation is a new technology being promoted for banana seed multiplication. The rate of adoption is still low as many farmers are not aware of the techno logy and readily access planting materials from neighbors.

Application guidelines for the users

Kill the meristem at 6 months in a process referred to as decapitation. This technique results in sprouting of  up  to  30  suckers  per  plant  in  3  months  and  speeds  up  availability  of  clean  planting  materials  for replacement of cut mats.

Contact details

Contact details for further information  
Shaban Mkulila  
Scientist, ARI-Maruku,  
P.O. Box 127, Bukoba, Tanzania ,
Telephone: (+255) 0715718322/0784718322
Email: simkulila@yahoo.com

Jackson Nkuba  
Officer in Charge, ARI-Maruku
P.O Box 127, Bukoba, Tanzania  
Tel: +255 754760443,  
Mob: +255 714280122,  
Email: jmnkuba@yahoo.com

William Tinzaara,  
Lead Scientist,  
Bioversity International,  
P.O Box 24384, Kampala

Tel: +256 414 286 213
Email: w.tinzaara@cgiar.org

Additional information

There is need to establish knowledge and information sharing platforms at local level to facilitate sharing of information on the performance of the macro-propagation technology.