An Evaluation of Banana Macropropagation Techniques for Producing Pig Fodder in Northern Thailand

  •  Elizabeth Langford    
  •  Patrick Trail    
  •  Abram Bicksler    
  •  Rick Burnette    


Smallholder farmers raising pigs in northern Thailand rely heavily on banana stalks as a fermented feed source, but struggle to reproduce banana plants fast enough to keep up with consumption. This study evaluated a variety of techniques for rapidly multiplying banana plants, using techniques appropriate and affordable to smallholder farmers in order to help meet this demand. Propagation techniques of Musa (ABB) cv. ‘Kluai Nam Wa’ were conducted in greenhouse and field experiments in both lowland and upland areas of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. In greenhouse experiments, six treatments were conducted during the dry and rainy seasons, while five different treatments were compared in the field. Treatments used various methods of mechanical injury or application of benzyl aminopurine (BA) to induce plantlet differentiation. Number of plantlets to emerge, days to emergence, and circumference of plantlets were observed over a 90-day period. Results indicate that time of year plays an important role in the macropropagation of bananas, as significantly higher numbers of plantlets emerged during the rainy season. Plantlets emerged in 65 days, on average, during the dry season, but took only 54 days during the rainy season. During the rainy season, the presence of BA produced more plantlets than the other treatments, but during the dry season, there were no differences among treatments. Overall, the number of plantlets produced in all treatments evaluated was very low; however we believe this research is an important contribution to the literature and acknowledge that there exists significant opportunity to capitalize on the low-cost appropriate technology benefits that macropropagation of bananas can deliver to smallholder farmers. 

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