Do Tissue Culture Bananas Produce As Much As Those Planted From Suckers?

 This is a burning question that you will oftenly hear from many farmers and agricultural enthusiasts, especially those considering adopting this modern approach of banana cultivation. Many are curious about the potential benefits of tissue cultured bananas including its yields, resistance to diseases and overall productivity compared to traditional methods of banana propagation.

FHIA 17 tissue culture banana seedlings.

Someone is probably wondering, what are tissue culture bananas or how does the process of tissue culturing go about. Tissue culture bananas are propagated through a process known as micro propagation, a technique that involves growing plant cells or tissues in a controlled environment, usually in a nutrient-rich-agar medium. Disease-free tissues from the parent plant are carefully selected and a large number of genetically identical banana plantlets are produced. They are gradually exposed to external conditions to ensure survival and vigor of the plants upon transplantation.

While individual experiences from farmers may vary, studies suggest that tissue cultured bananas have the potential to match or even surpass the productivity of sucker-planted bananas. This is made possible by a number of factors that include.

1.    Disease-free plants

Tissue culture involves using disease-free plant material, which minimizes the risk of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. This leads to healthier plants and higher productivity.

2.    Enhanced Vigour

Tissue culture plants often exhibit enhanced vigor due to the optimized growing conditions in the laboratory. They are typically more robust and resilient when transplanted into the field.

3.    Improved stress tolerance

Tissue culture bananas can be selected and propagated for specific traits, including stress tolerance. This improves the plants’ ability to thrive in less-than ideal growing conditions, thus maintaining high productivity.

Tissue Culture bananas Vs Sucker propagated bananas

  • Bunch Size

Tissue culture banana bunch

Tissue culture bananas typically produce larger and more uniform bunches due to their consistent genetic makeup and optimal growing conditions while sucker propagated bananas can have more variability in bunch size due to genetic differences and potential disease presence.

  • Weight per bunch

Bunches from tissue culture bananas can weigh between 20 to 50kg, depending on the variety and growing conditions while sucker propagated bananas may have their bunches weighing between 15 to 40kgs though this likely to vary.

  • Number of hands per bunch

On average, a bunch may have 8 to 12 hands, with each hand containing 10 to 20 bananas. Sucker propagated bananas often have their bunches have 6 to 10 hands, with variability in the number of bananas per hand.

Another concern on tissue culture bananas is their thin stems. Tissue culture bananas are renowned for their delicate and thin stems as compared to the sucker-grown bananas. However, this characteristic is not indicative of weakness. The thin stems of tissue culture bananas are a result of their rapid growth in controlled environments. Once transplanted into the field, these bananas adapt to natural conditions and develop robust stems capable of supporting fruit clusters.