The importance of plantain among Nigerians cannot be underestimated. It can be consumed by boiling raw (unripe), roasted (riped or unripe), and fried into plantain chips (unripe) or dodo (riped). The unripe plantain can also be processed into flour to make ‘Amala’ (a popular delicacy in southwestern Nigeria). The unripe plantain is also used for medicinal purposes in treating some ailment. The doctors often recommend diabetics patients to be eating boiled unripe plantain.
In view of the above, you will also agree with me that the importance of plantain cannot be underestimated among millions of Nigerians and across the globe. Therefore, there is a need to research on how to increase the production of this vital food crop. Over the years, getting suckers to buy has been difficult for farmers cultivating plantain on a large scale because of exorbitant cost.
Without any sentiment and with my years of experience in this business, plantain farming is an aspect of agro-business that is very lucrative, higher returns, assured market, and low-risk factors. Despite the huge potential or prospect of plantain business, getting healthy suckers can be frustrating for investors, young farmers that want to venture into agriculture.
Macro propagation is an innovative method for multiplying plantain suckers rapidly, and it has been helping the farmers to end the problems of getting sufficient and healthy planting material.
However, to perform macro propagation, there are two types of approaches you can use.
- Dissecting or cutting the cum of the planting material or mother plant into different size
- Making incisions on the planting material or mother plant.
These two approaches or methods have their merits and demerits. Moreover, the purpose of this article is to show the advantages and disadvantages of both techniques in order to know which technique to adopt ahead of the next planting season.
For the first approach, ‘Dissecting or cutting cum of the planting material or mother plant into different size,’ cutting of a single planting material gives between 10 – 15 plantlets, depends on the diameter or size or the cum. Therefore, if you have 10 – 15 planting material, it will give you 100 – 225 healthy plantlets.
The major disadvantage of this method is ‘delay in outgrow of plantlets,’ because the size of cuttings has effects on days to plantlets emergence or germination. The smaller the sizes of the cuttings, the longer it takes to germinate or produce new plantlets.
For instance, when you cut a sucker into 5-6 cuttings, germination will commence between 20 to 22 days while it will take between 25 to 30 days when you cut a single sucker into ten or more cuttings. The growth is very slow at the initial stage.
However, for the second approach, ‘Making incisions on the planting material or mother plant,’ this method is also capable of producing many plantlets but depends on the number of incisions made on the mother plant (sucker). Germination usually commences between 15 to 20 days, and the growth rate is rapid.
Both methods produce good yield and are quick to mature compared to normal suckers. Both techniques can greatly boost food security and income generation among small scale farmers if properly adopted for ensuring sustainability.
NOTE: Both suckers were planted simultaneously. And you could see the height at 32 days after planting.
Below is the plantlet height at 44days after planting.