FHIA 17 banana variety is a hybrid banana cultivar developed by the Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA) in collaboration with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). The FHIA 17 banana variety is resistant to several banana diseases and pests, making it a popular choice for farmers in Kenya. In this article, we will explore the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya.

FHIA 17 banana variety in kenya
Photo Credit: KALRO

Characteristics of FHIA 17 Banana

The FHIA 17 banana variety is a cross between the Pacific Plantain and the Dwarf Brazilian banana varieties. It is a triploid variety, which means that it has three sets of chromosomes. The FHIA 17 banana plant is tall, with a height of up to 5 meters. The leaves are green and large, with a length of up to 3 meters. The FHIA 17 banana fruit is medium-sized, with a length of up to 20 cm and a diameter of up to 4 cm. The fruit is usually green when unripe and turns yellow when ripe.

Benefits of FHIA 17 Banana

The FHIA 17 banana variety has several benefits for farmers in Kenya. First, it is resistant to several banana diseases, including black Sigatoka, Fusarium wilt, and banana weevil. This reduces the need for expensive and environmentally harmful chemical pesticides, making the FHIA 17 banana variety a more sustainable option for farmers. Second, the FHIA 17 banana variety has a high yield potential, producing up to 90 tonnes per hectare per year. This means that farmers can generate more income from their banana farms. Third, the FHIA 17 banana variety has a longer shelf life than other banana varieties, which reduces post-harvest losses and improves marketability.

Challenges of FHIA 17 Banana

While the FHIA 17 banana variety has several benefits, it also faces some challenges in Kenya. First, the FHIA 17 banana variety is susceptible to drought and requires sufficient water for optimal growth and yield. This can be a challenge in areas with limited water resources. Second, the FHIA 17 banana variety is sensitive to cold temperatures, which limits its cultivation to areas with a tropical climate. Third, the FHIA 17 banana variety requires careful management to prevent the spread of diseases and pests, which can be challenging for small-scale farmers with limited resources.

The FHIA 17 banana variety is a hybrid banana cultivar developed by the Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA) in collaboration with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). It is resistant to several banana diseases and pests, has a high yield potential, and a longer shelf life than other banana varieties. However, it also faces challenges such as susceptibility to drought and cold temperatures and the need for careful management to prevent the spread of diseases and pests. Overall, the FHIA 17 banana variety has the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers in Kenya by increasing their income and reducing their reliance on chemical pesticides.

Suitable Conditions For FHIA 17 Banana Farming In Kenya

In order to cultivate the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya, there are certain conditions that need to be met to ensure optimal growth and yield.

Climate:

The FHIA 17 banana variety thrives in a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 20ยฐC to 30ยฐC. It requires a minimum of 1,200mm of rainfall per year, evenly distributed throughout the year. The banana plant is sensitive to cold temperatures, and frost can damage or kill the plant.

Soil:

The FHIA 17 banana variety grows well in a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The ideal pH for the soil is between 5.5 and 6.5. The soil should also be free from nematodes, which can damage the roots of the banana plant.

Sunlight:

The FHIA 17 banana variety requires full sunlight for optimal growth and yield. The banana plant should be planted in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Water:

The FHIA 17 banana variety requires consistent moisture to grow and produce fruit. The banana plant should be irrigated regularly, especially during the dry season. However, the banana plant is also sensitive to waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other diseases.

Pest and Disease Management:

The FHIA 17 banana variety is resistant to several banana diseases, including black Sigatoka, Fusarium wilt, and banana weevil. However, the plant can still be affected by other pests and diseases, such as nematodes and bacterial wilt. Proper management of pests and diseases is essential to ensure optimal growth and yield of the banana plant.

The FHIA 17 banana variety is best suited for areas in Kenya with a tropical climate and sufficient rainfall. It requires well-drained soil, full sunlight, and consistent moisture. Proper pest and disease management is also essential to ensure optimal growth and yield. With these conditions in place, farmers in Kenya can cultivate the FHIA 17 banana variety and enjoy the benefits it provides.

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How to plant and care

Planting and caring for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya requires specific techniques and practices to ensure optimal growth and yield. Here are some guidelines for planting and caring for the FHIA 17 banana variety:

Planting FHIA 17 banana:

  1. Choose the right location: Select a site that is well-drained, receives full sunlight, and has access to a reliable source of water.
  2. Prepare the soil: Clear the area of weeds, rocks, and debris. The soil should be loosened and enriched with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure.
  3. Planting holes: Dig planting holes that are at least 30 cm deep and wide. Space the planting holes 3 to 4 meters apart, depending on the size of the planting material.
  4. Planting material: Use healthy and disease-free suckers or tissue-cultured plants for planting. The planting material should be at least 30 cm long and have at least four to six leaves.
  5. Planting: Plant the suckers or tissue-cultured plants in the planting holes, making sure that the base of the plant is level with the ground. Backfill the planting holes with soil and firm the soil around the plant.

Caring FHIA 17 banana:

  1. Watering: The FHIA 17 banana variety requires consistent moisture to grow and produce fruit. Water the banana plants regularly, especially during the dry season. Avoid waterlogging, which can cause root rot and other diseases.
  2. Fertilization: The FHIA 17 banana variety requires regular fertilization to ensure optimal growth and yield. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as NPK 20:10:10, every three months.
  3. Mulching: Mulch the banana plants with organic matter, such as dry leaves or grass, to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
  4. Pruning: Remove old and diseased leaves from the banana plant regularly. Prune the banana plant after harvesting to remove old stems and promote new growth.
  5. Pest and Disease Management: Proper management of pests and diseases is essential to ensure optimal growth and yield of the banana plant. Monitor the banana plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures to control them.
  6. Harvesting: The FHIA 17 banana variety takes 10 to 12 months to mature and produce fruit. Harvest the bananas when they are fully ripened, which is indicated by a yellow color and slightly soft texture. Cut the banana bunch with a sharp knife, leaving a stub of the stem attached to the bunch.

Planting and caring for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya requires specific techniques and practices to ensure optimal growth and yield. Proper planting, watering, fertilization, mulching, pruning, and pest and disease management are essential to ensure healthy and productive banana plants. With the right care, farmers in Kenya can enjoy the benefits of the FHIA 17 banana variety and improve their livelihoods.

Estimated Cost Of Production

The cost of production per acre for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya depends on various factors, such as the cost of inputs, labor, and other production-related expenses. Here is a breakdown of the estimated cost of production per acre for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya:

  1. Land Preparation: The cost of land preparation for planting the banana variety may range from Ksh. 10,000 to Ksh. 25,000 per acre.
  2. Planting Materials: The cost of planting materials for the FHIA 17 banana variety ranges from Ksh. 20,000 to Ksh. 60,000 per acre, depending on the source and quality of the planting materials.
  3. Fertilizers: The cost of fertilizers for the banana crop may range from Ksh. 20,000 to Ksh. 35,000 per acre, depending on the type and quantity of the fertilizer applied.
  4. Labor: The cost of labor for planting, weeding, and harvesting the banana crop may range from Ksh. 60,000 to Ksh. 100,000 per acre, depending on the prevailing wage rates and the size of the labor force.
  5. Pest and Disease Control: The cost of pest and disease control measures, such as spraying, may range from Ksh. 15,000 to Ksh. 20,000 per acre.
  6. Miscellaneous Costs: These may include transportation, equipment, and other production-related expenses, which may range from Ksh. 5,000 to Ksh. 20,000 per acre.
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Therefore, the total cost of production per acre for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya may range from Ksh. 150,000 to Ksh. 250,000. However, it is important to note that the cost of production may vary depending on various factors, such as the location, market prices, and other production-related factors.

Profitability Per Acre

The profitability of the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya depends on several factors, such as market prices, yields, and production costs. Here is an estimated profitability analysis of the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya, based on average market prices and yields:

  1. Yield: The average yield of the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya is approximately 25-30 tonnes per acre per year.
  2. Market prices: The average market price for bananas in Kenya is approximately Ksh. 30-40 per kilogram. However, prices may vary depending on the location, season, and other factors.
  3. Revenue: Based on the average yield and market prices, the revenue from the FHIA 17 banana variety may range from Ksh. 750,000 to Ksh. 1,200,000 per acre per year.
  4. Production costs: As discussed earlier, the estimated cost of production per acre for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya is approximately Ksh. 150,000 to Ksh. 250,000 per year.
  5. Profitability: Based on the estimated revenue and production costs, the profitability of the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya may range from Ksh. 500,000 to Ksh. 960,000 per acre per year.

It is important to note that the profitability of the FHIA 17 banana variety may vary depending on various factors, such as market prices, yields, and production costs. Additionally, farmers may incur other costs such as transportation, marketing, and storage expenses, which may affect the overall profitability. However, with proper planting, care, and management, the FHIA 17 banana variety can be a profitable crop for farmers in Kenya.

Market

The market for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya is quite large and diverse. Bananas are a staple food in Kenya, and the demand for the FHIA 17 variety has been steadily increasing due to its high yields, disease resistance, and superior quality.

Here are some of the main markets for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya:

  1. Local markets: The local markets in Kenya are the primary destination for the FHIA 17 banana variety. Most farmers sell their produce directly to local markets, which are located in towns and cities across the country. These markets are often crowded and competitive, and the prices may fluctuate depending on the supply and demand.
  2. Supermarkets and grocery stores: In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for high-quality bananas in supermarkets and grocery stores in Kenya. The FHIA 17 banana variety is particularly popular in these outlets due to its superior quality and longer shelf life.
  3. Export markets: Kenya has a growing export market for bananas, particularly to countries in the Middle East and Europe. The FHIA 17 banana variety is particularly popular in these markets due to its high yields and disease resistance.
  4. Processing: The FHIA 17 banana variety can also be processed into various products such as banana chips, banana flour, and banana wine. These products have a growing market in Kenya and other countries.

In summary, the market for the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya is quite diverse and offers various opportunities for farmers. By targeting the right market and adopting proper marketing strategies, farmers can earn a good income from the FHIA 17 banana variety.

Pests and Disease

The FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya is susceptible to several pests and diseases that can cause significant damage to the crop if not controlled properly. Here are some of the most common pests and diseases that affect the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya:

  1. Banana Weevil: This pest attacks the stem of the banana plant, causing stunted growth, wilting, and eventual death of the plant. The banana weevil can be controlled by using cultural practices such as removing and destroying infected plants, using clean planting materials, and applying chemical control measures.
  2. Banana Aphids: These are small insects that suck sap from the leaves and stems of the banana plant, causing yellowing and wilting of the leaves. Banana aphids can be controlled by using natural predators, such as ladybirds, or by applying chemical control measures.
  3. Banana Bunchy Top Virus: This is a viral disease that affects the growth and development of the banana plant, causing the leaves to become twisted and deformed. The disease can be controlled by removing and destroying infected plants and using clean planting materials.
  4. Black Sigatoka: This is a fungal disease that causes dark spots and streaks on the leaves of the banana plant, which can lead to defoliation and reduced yields. Black Sigatoka can be controlled by using cultural practices such as proper spacing, pruning, and removing infected leaves, as well as applying fungicides.
  5. Fusarium Wilt: This is a soil-borne fungal disease that affects the roots of the banana plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Fusarium wilt can be controlled by using clean planting materials, crop rotation, and soil fumigation.
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It is important for farmers to monitor their banana plants regularly for signs of pest and disease infestation, and to adopt appropriate control measures to prevent damage to the crop. Proper cultural practices such as good sanitation, proper spacing, and appropriate use of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides can also help to prevent and control pests and diseases in the FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya.

FAQs on FHIA 17 banana variety in Kenya

  • What is the FHIA 17 banana variety? The FHIA 17 banana variety is a hybrid banana variety that was developed by the Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA). It is a cross between the Cavendish banana and a wild banana species called Musa balbisiana.
  • What are the advantages of growing FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya? The advantages of growing FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya include high yields, disease resistance, and superior fruit quality. The variety is also suitable for various agro-ecological zones in Kenya and has a good market demand.
  • How long does it take for FHIA 17 bananas to mature? The FHIA 17 banana variety takes about 9-12 months to mature after planting.
  • What is the recommended spacing for planting FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya? The recommended spacing for planting FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya is 2.5m x 2.5m.
  • What is the optimal temperature range for growing FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya? The optimal temperature range for growing FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya is between 25-30ยฐC.
  • How much water do FHIA 17 banana plants require? FHIA 17 banana plants require about 1,500-2,000mm of rainfall annually or equivalent irrigation.
  • What is the recommended fertilizer application for FHIA 17 banana plants? The recommended fertilizer application for FHIA 17 banana plants is 200g of NPK 17:17:17 per plant per year.
  • How do I control pests and diseases in my FHIA 17 banana plantation? Pests and diseases in FHIA 17 banana plantations can be controlled by adopting proper cultural practices such as good sanitation, proper spacing, and appropriate use of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
  • What is the expected yield per acre of FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya? The expected yield per acre of FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya is about 25-30 tons per acre per year.
  • How much does it cost to establish an acre of FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya? The cost of establishing an acre of FHIA 17 bananas in Kenya may vary depending on the location, availability of inputs, and labour costs. However, it may cost between Ksh. 250,000 to Ksh. 400,000.
  • How do I harvest FHIA 17 bananas? FHIA 17 bananas are harvested when the fruit has reached its full size and has a yellow-green colour. The bunches are cut with a sharp machete, leaving about 30cm of the stem attached to the bunch.
  • Can FHIA 17 bananas be grown organically? Yes, FHIA 17 bananas can be grown organically using natural methods of pest and disease control and organic fertilizers.
  • What is the shelf life of FHIA 17 bananas? FHIA 17 bananas have a longer shelf life compared to other banana varieties, typically lasting up to 3 weeks after harvest.
  • Can FHIA 17 bananas be processed into other products? Yes, FHIA 17 bananas can be processed into various products such as banana chips, banana flour, and banana wine.
  • How can I market my FHIA 17 banana crop in Kenya? FHIA 17 bananas can be marketed through local markets, supermarkets and grocery stores, export markets, and processed into various products.

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