AGRI-PEOPLE Love Practical Farming Tips

Note the 1.5 meter trunk of the harvested banana. It still contains nutrients and water that help sustain growth of the sucker.

When we posted a very simple but practical tip on harvesting banana in our blog (zacsarian.com), we got 2116 hits on the first day out of which 1,358 were on the banana harvesting. The next day (Dec. 20, 1017), we had 1619 hits out of which 719 were on that practical tip.

That reinforced what we had always believed that agri enthusiasts really love simple, doable farming ideas. And what is that practical tip that drew so much interest?

Here it is. When harvesting banana, don’t cut the trunk to the gound. Leave 1 to 1.5 meters standing. Why? Well, that will help nourish the remaining sucker which will grow healthier and faster. That is because the old uncut trunk still contains a lot of nutrients and warer. The water is particularly useful during the dry season because it will provide the moisture needed by the sucker or suckers.

When you cut the trunk to the ground, whatever sucker or suckers that remain will grow very slowly, according to our banana expert friend, Dr. Agustin Molina Jr. It is also possible that with the old trunk retained, new suckers will still develop.

Banana with black trunk from Africa. People are willing to pay a good price for a sucker of a rare banana like this.
Apple Wang of Flying Cow Rance posing with a Honduras banana at the Sarian Farm. This is another banana that is still rare.

SUCKERS ARE SALEABLE, TOO – Here’s a tip you might want to try if you want to make some coffee money from your bananas. You can make some cash not only from the fruits but also from the suckers. And it is possible that you can make more money from the suckers than from the fruits. Take, for instance, if you have a Mama Sita banana which was introduced from Thailand some years back. Up to now, there are people who don’t mind paying P100 per sucker because it is a good variety that can be eaten fresh, boiled, made into banana-cue, made into chips. One mother plant can easily produce seven to 10 suckers before its fruit is harvested if given proper care. That means you can make P700 to P1,000 from the suckers of one mother plant which does not actually end there because it can be ratooned for several generations.

The trick then, is to have a collection of different varieties with desirable characteristics. There are indigenous as well as imported varieties. For instance, there are a number of Honduras bananas introduced sometime back by an international NGO focused on bananas. There are some from Africa, from Taiwan and elsewhere.

There are also interesting indigenous varieties that are not commonly found in the market. These include the glutinous Saba banana which a friend of ours has in his backyard. There is also the big-fruited Tindok. And here’s a hot tip. If you can get hold of the purple banana or Morado, multiply it because it is what the organic banana fanatics are looking for.

Now you see, collecting unusual banana varieties can be interesting and rewarding. It can be an enjoyable hobby that also pays.

Bunch of the Honduras banana.
Wendell Sarian with one bunch of Honduras banana.
Honduras banana ready for harvest.
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