Banana (Musa spp. Colla) cropping systems, production constraints and cultivar preferences in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences


Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are important crops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for food security and household income. However, yield has been decreasing to an average of 4.6 tons/ha currently, and the factors leading to the decline have not been fully determined. In the present study a diagnostic survey was conducted in the South Kivu (SK) and North Kivu (NK) regions of the country to determine the existing banana production constraints. Soil was sampled for analysis from 240 fields (30 samples/site) from 8 sites. The results indicated that apart from one site (Maboya, NK), soil fertility is not a limiting factor for banana production in the area. Planting materials used by farmers are exclusively suckers from existing crops and there is no institution producing clean planting materials in the area. Tillage using hand hoes for the purpose of growing common bean causes destruction of banana roots leading to poor nutrient uptake which contribute to low yield (3kg/bunch). Weed control is done by hand using hoes. Inadequate weeding and inappropriate desuckering practices increases competition between plants, leading to production of small bunches. In order of importance, the most important criteria for cultivar selection were flavour/taste, juice quality, resistance to disease and bunch size. Diseases including black Sigatoka, Fusarium wilt, Xanthomonas wilt, bunchy top virus, nematodes and weevils were identified as among the main causes of cultivar disappearance in eastern DRC. Although farmers have generally little knowledge on banana plantation management, they have good understanding on value addition through beer brewing. Hence farmers allocate an average of 50% of banana fields to wine producing cultivars. Cultivars from subgroup like AAA-Cavendish, AAA-Gros Michel, AAA-Ibota, AB-Ney poovan, AABKamaramasengi and ABB are well adopted for wine making. A total of twenty nine and thirty two banana accessions were found to be grown by farmers in SK and in NK, respectively. Based on similarity among these accessions using farmers’ criteria two clusters were identified consisting of wine/beer banana, and a combination of cooking, roasting and dessert types. The good market demand for plantains have motivated farmers in North-Kivu to allocate the largest part of their farms (25%) to French plantain Nguma (AAB) while in South Kivu the largest area (64.5%) is allocated to Nshikazi (AAA-EAHB) for beer production. Farmers’ mixed cropping system includes legumes, cereals, and multipurpose trees in the banana plantation or as hedgerows. Banana production can be improved in the study area using participatory research and development approach where smallholder farmers could evaluate appropriate technology introduced in the form of research. The key intervention measures are introduction of improved varieties with high yield and/or resistant to disease and sensitization on integrated pest management which could contribute into food security and poverty reduction.


Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences, 2009. Vol. 4, Issue 2: 341 - 356.


Banana, Plantain, Production factor, Cultivars preference