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Improved Propagation Techniques to Enhance the Productivity of Banana (Musa spp.)

Tumuhimbise, Robooni, Talengera, David
Open Agriculture 2018 v.3 no.1 pp. 138-145
Musa, bananas, cell culture, cleaning, crop production, decapitation, equipment, human resources, pests, plant propagation, production costs, tissue culture
The objective of this article is to provide information on pertinent propagation techniques for increased banana productivity. Banana, a very important crop in many tropical and subtropical countries of the world, is propagated with extreme difficulties. Its ordinary propagation technique of using suckers directly detached from a mother plant is limited by low multiplication rates and propensity of disseminating pests and diseases, which culminates in reduced banana productivity. Improved propagation techniques such as mother plant stripping, decapitation and mini-corms that increase the number of suckers are also somewhat deficient for large scale seed production and quality. Consequently, tissue and cell culture methods have been developed to address some of the challenges of seed quantity and quality although they are yet to be widely adopted. In this detailed review that includes results from hard-to-find literature, we discuss the traditional and modern methods of banana propagation, their benefits and limitations. Specifically, tissue culture stands out as the most prolific method of delivering high quantity and quality seed in banana. Its applicability, however, is limited by high costs of production and a need for skilled personnel and specialized equipment. It is imperative that to build a sustainable and viable banana seed production system, a multiplication scheme that combines two or more multiplication methods including tissue culture for cleaning the seed stock is utilized. The information provided gives premise for interventions to alleviate the problems of low banana seed availability, quantity and quality.