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In general, bananas will produce good yields under well-distributed rainfall conditions of 1,200 mm per year, at altitudes up to 1,800 metres above sea level. Soils should preferably be fertile, deep (2 metres), and not affected by salt (a pH value between 5 and 8). Banana is often (wrongly) described as a crop that can grow only under good rainfall conditions and/or with irrigation. Although high yields will be attained only under the optimal soil, water, and climate conditions, some varieties are more tolerant of drought and will withstand long dry seasons in a monsoon climate.
The opportunity to promote improved banana varieties in the RIPAT projects was the result of research carried out at the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Arusha on new varieties brought to Tanzania as tissue cultures. Based on the initial good results at SARI, RECODA decided to conduct a pilot project to further test the potential under farm conditions. The pilot project was undertaken in two areas: in an area with relatively high potential, with good rainfall conditions and the possibility of supplementary irrigation; and in an area with low potential, with poor rainfall conditions and where farmers practise solely dryland farming. These two areas later became the RIPAT 1 and RIPAT 2 areas respectively. The pilot project revealed that the new banana varieties produced very well in the RIPAT 1 area, and that they could even be cultivated in the dry and harsh RIPAT 2 area. Through the RIPAT experience, it was further learned that under dryland farming conditions it is crucial to select adequate sites, i.e. lower-lying plots with windbreaks and the possibility for harvesting run-off water. Moreover, reducing the plant density, increasing the size of the planting hole, and applying higher levels of manure combined with mulching further improved the success of banana cultivation under dry conditions. It was found that, when cultivated using sound agronomy practices, banana is less vulnerable to dry spells than annual crops such as maize.
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It is quite labour intensive to establish a banana plantation. Using the general recommended spacing of 3 metres between rows and 3 metres within the rows, around 450 holes should be prepared per acre. A planting hole should be approximately 90 cm deep and 90 cm wide (approximately 0.6 cubic metres). When digging the holes, the upper layer of soil (45 cm) must be separated from the bottom layer. After finishing the digging, the upper soil should be well mixed with 5–10 buckets of farmyard manure or compost and then returned to the hole.
Bananas can be planted throughout the rainy season; however, they should grow vigorously and without water stress during the first four to six months after planting.
Therefore, planting should not be done during the last month of the rainy season. The planting material (suckers) must come from a healthy disease- and pest-free plantation.
The use of banana seedlings produced from tissue culture is recommended, but these are not yet available in Tanzania. In addition to the above, farmers need to learn techniques for: 1) removing suckers and preparing good planting materials; 2) avoiding and managing pests and diseases; 3) applying supplementary manure and fertilizer and irrigating (if possible); 4) harvesting, processing, and marketing the fruit.
ANNEX 3 Acronyms, abbreviations and glossary Acronyms and abbreviations ASDP Agricultural Sector Development Programme DAC Development Assistance Committee DIIS Danish Institute for International Studies EDI Economic Development Initiative EDI-RF Economic Development Initiative–Rockwool Foundation FAO Food and Agriculture Organization [United Nations] FFS Farmer Field School NAADS National Agricultural Advisory Services NGO Non-governmental organization OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development PPI Progress out of Poverty Index RECODA Research, Community and Organizational Development Associates RIPAT Rockwool Initiatives for Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania SACCO Savings and Credit Cooperative T&V Training and Visit [extension system] VSL Village Savings and Loan VSLA Village Savings and Loan Association WDR World Development Report Glossary Key concepts Capacity building: The process through which individuals, organizations, and societies obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capability to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.
Effectiveness: The extent to which the development intervention’s objectives were achieved, or are expected to be achieved, taking into account their relative importance.
Efficiency: A measure of how economically resources or inputs (funds, expertise, time, etc.) are converted into results.
Empowerment: A gradual process in which people gain in self-confidence and feel more able to choose their own priorities and way forward.
146 Farmers’ ChoiCe Evaluation: The systematic and objective assessment of an ongoing or completed project, programme, or policy, in terms of its design, implementation, and results. The aim is to determine relevance and degree of fulfilment of objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability. Evaluation also refers to the process of determining the worth or significance of an activity, policy, or programme.
Facilitation: Helping a group of people to achieve their aims through discussion, encouragement, and support, with planning and action.
Hunger: A condition in which people do not get enough food to provide the nutrients (carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and water) for fully productive, active, and healthy lives.
Hunger season: The seasonality of agricultural harvests leaves many poor people hungry during certain months of the year (e.g. the period right before the harvest of annual crops).
Impacts: Positive and negative, primary and secondary, long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.
Mobilization: Actions intended to encourage people to come together so as to support a certain idea that aims to achieve a certain goal or goals. It is also defined as an exciting process of encouraging and supporting communities to analyse their own situations and to take steps to work together to make changes for the better.
Oversampling: The use of a larger number of observations in order to correct bias in a sample.
Ownership: When local people take control and accept responsibility for issues that affect their own development.
Participatory rural appraisal: An approach that aims to incorporate the knowledge and opinions of rural people in the planning and management of development projects and programmes.
Poverty line: Tanzania operates with a national poverty line of TZS 492 per adult equivalent per day, representing the local monetary cost of fulfilling basic needs for food, shelter, and clothes. This largely correlates to the typical international poverty line for developing countries of US$1.25 per day, after correcting for purchasing power differences.
Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI): A simple and accurate tool that measures poverty levels of groups and individuals and estimates the likelihood that individuals or households fall below the national poverty line. The poorest half of the population are below the national poverty line.
Randomized controlled trial: A specific type of scientific experiment, and the preferred design for a clinical trial. In medicine, these trials are often used to test the efficacy of various types of intervention within a population of patients.
population from which it is drawn. The term most often refers to the distortion of a statistical analysis resulting from the method of collecting samples.
Sensitization: An attempt to make oneself or others aware of and responsive to certain ideas, events, situations, or phenomena. Sensitization creates an awareness of the present situation in order to encourage positive change in the future and a readiness to act.
Solidarity chains: In RIPAT, two types of solidarity chain were applied: 1) animal (goats, sheep, pigs): each group is supplied with pure-bred female and male animals as initial improved breeding stock. Members pass on female offspring to others in the group according to a list worked out by the group. Only after having distributed two female offspring to the next person on the list will the group member be able to claim ownership of the female animal received; 2) banana: each farmer who adopts the improved banana technology is expected to give three times the number of banana suckers received through the project to other interested farmers in the community and to train them in improved cultivation techniques.
Statistically significant: In statistics, a result is called ‘statistically significant’ if it has less than a predefined level of probability of having occurred by chance.
Sustainability: The continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed, and the probability of continued long-term benefits.
Target group: The specific individuals or organizations for whose benefit the development intervention is undertaken.
Technology gap: The gap between the farm production that is achieved with the agricultural technologies currently being used by farmers and the production that could be achieved by the same farmers if they had access to better, and currently available, technologies and had the capacity to adjust them to local conditions. The gap is caused both by lack of knowledge of techniques and training in their use, and by lack of access to equipment and agricultural inputs for implementing better technologies.
Triangulation: The use of three or more theories, sources, types of information, or types of analysis to verify and substantiate an assessment. By combining multiple data sources, methods, analyses, or theories, evaluators seek to overcome the bias that comes from single informants, single methods, single observers, or single theory studies.
Agricultural terms Annual crop: A crop that grows for only one season (or year) before dying, in contrast to a perennial, which grows for more than one season.
Banana (improved varieties in RIPAT): The improved banana varieties Grand Nain, Paaz, Chines, Williams, and Lakatan were tested and demonstrated. In some areas the local or indigenous variety Mshale was used for comparison. These improved banana varieties were selected and imported by the Tanzania Banana Coordinator for higher production yields, food security, and sales (including export sales). The improved banana varieties can be used for both cooking (plantain) and as fruit, and have a wide tolerance to drought, lodging, and diseases.
148 Farmers’ ChoiCe Banana stools: Suckers spring up around the stem of the main plant and form a clump called a ‘stool’. The eldest sucker replaces the main plant when it fruits and dies, and this process of succession continues indefinitely.
Banana suckers: Offshoots taken from the base of the mother plant. Bananas are propagated (to produce more plants) from suckers (or from tissue culture). If the suckers are not removed they will compete with the mother plant and reduce yields.
Chaka hoe: The chaka (Zambian) hoe is promoted in conservation agriculture for reduced tillage as an alternative to the traditional hand hoe. It is used to till only the spots where seeds are to be placed by making permanent planting basins. It is a heavy hoe with an extra-strong, long blade and a long handle that can be swung to reduce effort, and that makes it possible to prepare basins in the dry season. The basins are 20 cm deep and 30 cm long and are spaced 70 cm apart along the row; the rows are 90 cm apart. Each year the basins are re-dug in exactly the same place as the year before.
Conservation agriculture: In the RIPAT context, this is an agricultural method based on three principles that aims to produce high crop yields while reducing production costs, maintaining soil fertility, and conserving water. These principles are: 1) disturb the soil as little as possible (reduce tillage using chaka hoes or a ripper); 2) keep the soil covered as much as possible (apply mulch and/or cover crops); 3) use intercropping and crop rotation.
Contour farming: Field operations such as ploughing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting on the contour, or at right angles to the natural slope, to reduce soil erosion, protect soil fertility, and use water more efficiently.
Cover crops: Crops used to cover and protect the soil surface, to decrease erosion, and to shade the ground. A cover crop should be a fast-growing species – usually a legume. In RIPAT, the legumes lablab and mucuna are promoted as cover crops.
Crop rotation: The growing of different crops, in recurring succession, on the same land to preserve the productive capacity of the soil (i.e. to avoid depleting the soil of nutrients and to control weeds, diseases, and pests).
Elephant grass: A perennial, high-yielding grass that grows over 3 metres tall. It is also known as Napier grass.
Extension: In this book, extension is understood as a government service designed to ‘extend’ research-based knowledge and relevant technologies to the rural sector to improve the lives of farmers.
Farmyard manure: A mixture of animal dung, urine, and straw or litter used as manure.
Intercropping: Growing two or more crops in the same field at the same time, either mixed together or in rows or strips, e.g. pigeon pea and maize intercropping.
Legumes: Plants that are notable for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen biologically and to improve soil fertility through nitrogen acquisition. They are important components in crop rotation and intercropping. The comparatively high protein content of their seeds and foliage makes legumes desirable for livestock and human consumption.
In RIPAT, various legumes have been promoted, including lablab, mucuna, pigeon pea, soya bean, and cowpea.
aCronyms, abbreviations and glossary 149 Perennial crop: A crop that grows more or less indefinitely from year to year (e.g.
Ripper: An implement promoted in conservation agriculture for reduced tillage as an alternative to the traditional ox-pulled mouldboard plough. It consists of a frame and a long tine attached to it for breaking up compacted soil and hardpans, and for making planting furrows. The ripped lines, usually spaced 75–90 cm apart, are as far as possible in the same place every year and the soil in between remains undisturbed.
Stuka maize: An improved, open-pollinated maize variety. Its name comes from an abbreviation of the Swahili words stahimili ukame, which mean ‘tolerate drought’. The variety was produced by Selian Agricultural Research Institute and became one of the technologies promoted by RIPAT.
Tied ridges: A water conservation method that uses small dams made of earth at regular intervals in the furrows, to trap rainwater and prevent it from flowing along the contours.
Water conservation: The protection, development, and efficient management of water resources for beneficial purposes. In RIPAT, the term is understood as covering improved agriculture practices promoted to reduce water loss from the surface, run-off (e.g. using tied ridges), and evaporation (e.g. using mulch).
banana cultivation: constraints on DAC (Development Assistance Committee, adoption of improved varieties 113–23; OECD) 64 cultural significance 105; female Danish Institute for International Studies authority over 80, 85, 86; as fertility see DIIS symbol 86; importance on Mount Meru Dar es Salaam 130 39; improved technology 15, 96, 98; data collection tools 26 improved varieties 66, 67box; intensive Davis, K., Nkonya, E., Kato, E., Mekonnen, 38; irrigation 75, 116, 119; as labour D.A., Odendo, M. and Miiro, R. 3, 6 intensive 60; perennial 60; and RIPAT Deitchler, M., Ballard, T., Swindale, A. and 14, 53, 105–7, 115, 116; secure source of Coates, J. 49 income 110; ‘solidarity chain’ 73 Denzin, N.K. 25 Banerjee, A. and Duflo, E. 58 development, agricultural, failure of 2 beans: as annual crop 49; as cash crop 51, development, historical 40–2 52t; as main crop 37, 38; and women 83, ‘development ambassadors’ 64 85, 122box, 137 Development Assistance Committee, bottom-up approach 10, 11, 41, 42 OECD see DAC Braun, A. and Duveskog, D. 8 development policies, centralized 40box Braun, A., Jiggins, J., Röling, N., van den diet, improvement in 67 Berg, H. and Snijders, P. 3 ‘Difference-in Differences’ 55, 56box Britain 39 diffusion: after end of project 10; analysis business opportunities, agricultural 64 of 27; conservation agriculture 108;
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