Innovative projects for refugees, former child soldiers, and host communities in northern Uganda
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Jul 2014 09

Pomology Training – The Benefits of Banana Farming

Posted in News

By: Alany Joel

Banana farms are abundant in Uganda. A large percentage of bananas consumed locally are grown by small-scale farmers in rural areas. The farms are usually one hectare in size and support livestock as well. This model for local food production has been quite successful in other parts of Uganda and, therefore, GRG has helped facilitate groups to establish banana farms through strategic training sessions.

During a recent training session groups learnt effective techniques for planting and growing bananas, pineapple and citrus. They discussed the best control methods for pest and disease prevention and control, and learnt why bananas might be an optimal crop.

During the session the group members were asked by the facilitator what the importance was of growing fruit. One resounding response was “Konyo pito lutino Ki culu kwan”, meaning that it is a source of food for children as well as a source of income to pay for school fees. Most members resoundingly agreed that they had troubles with these two issues, proving that growing fruit is an important economic activity for these communities and has great potential to improve livelihoods.

Group members identified other benefits to growing bananas:

1)     Bananas are not very labour intensive and don’t require as much attention as other crops, thereby making it a more efficient crop to grow.

2)     If banana growing could bring income into the household then domestic violence may decrease. Since income generation is a source of pride and respect for men, and those who have trouble finding employment may turn to alcohol as a coping strategy, being able to grow bananas and generate income has potential to improve domestic situations.

3)     They can help with issues of constipation

The main problem with growing bananas that individuals identified was:

1)     Monkeys – there are many in the area and they eat the bananas. The trainers suggested spreading powdered red pepper throughout the gardens. This will make the monkeys sneeze and not be enjoyable and then it is likely that they will leave the bananas alone.

2)     Since the days of the insurgency, when people would often run to save their lives, there is less employment opportunities and thus people lose hope and drive to find employment. Growing bananas and selling them is a positive reinforcement that there are options available.

3)     Avela Justine of Appyeta stated that there is potential for jealous people to set fire to banana crops, and asked how best to deter such actions. The facilitator suggested that the group get together to discuss such and issue and come up with a solution that they think will be effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, growing bananas is seen as a huge benefit to communities. Bananas hold cultural importance (lining the roads with banana leaves is a sign of welcome to visitors) as well as financial and health benefits. If groups concentrate on banana farming, they will be able to increase their productivity sustainably and improve their livelihoods.

 

 

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