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permaculture techniques/feasability for large-scale banana farming  RSS feed

 
Louis Romain
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Hi

can somebody shed light on the possibility to use permaculture techniques to grow bananas in the Caribbean on a large scale, for selling to big supermarkets.
The criterion is low : the banana must be organic, and the soil is damaged by previous conventional banana crops or other crops. That's all.
Obviously, we need to think about diversifying from just bananas.
But I am looking for a plan to grow good organic bananas, while restoring the soil, and this on a large-scale farm.

Thanks for your help.
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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You can totally use permaculture techniques to grow organic bananas! Just be sure to think things out slowly and and carefully.

Here is a list of things to start you off to consider:

-What types of bananas do you plan to grow?

There are thousands of types of bananas you can grow. Depending on what people like to eat in your city, you should plan accordingly.
Here is a link to a scientific report on bananas with an emphasis on Pacific Island varieties.
http://www.agroforestry.net/images/pdfs/Banana-plantain-overview.pdf
For a more condensed discussion on banana varieties, the link below by Saveur News describes five major types of bananas:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/5-Banana-Varieties
You could make a specialty in your local market by introducing people to new types of bananas and showing them the beauty of biodiversity.

-How are you going to feed the bananas plants?

Bananas are high in potassium, so of the three macronutrients for plant growth (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) you will need special emphasis on where the potassium is going to come from. Companion planting and plant guilds are highly advised to solve this problem of providing the right nutrients. An important thing to remember is YOU ARE EXPORTING NUTRIENTS FROM YOUR LAND EVERY TIME THAT YOU SHIP PLANTS FROM THE LAND. Therefore, to keep the land fertile and the business sustainable, I highly highly advise working out a deal with some local stores and municipal waste groups so that you can get your hands on their organic waste. This will provide you with a ready supply of nutrients for composting and a stream of resources to power your company.

-Who do you plan on selling to? Just local? Or bigger plans?

-Are there legal restrictions on imports and exports on the city, state, and federal level?

-What does "organic" mean? What criteria do you have to fulfill to be labelled "organic"?

-Where is the startup money going to come from?

Most businesses fail because they do not generate enough revenue in their early stages of growth.
If you work out a deal with a municipal waste group or local stores, you might get paid to take their organic waste or get access to their waste for free.

-How will pests and diseases be handled?

One technique I learned in my AP Environmental Science class is where you plant distraction plants (plants the pests like) along the border of the land, and then you can make habitat for the pests' predators nearby. This way the pests will be attracted to a location beside the predators, and then the situation resolves itself because the predators have a ready supply of prey now.

Here is a short list of permaculture techniques and principals to consider (as more people read and respond, the list should get bigger):

-companion planting and guilds (integrating rather than segregating)

-make one person's waste your treasure (produce no waste)

-observe nature and mimic the situation

Also, for information more relevant specifically to your situation, it would be advisable if you asked one of the moderators to move your topic to the Growies section under the subsection for Large Farms.
 
Louis Romain
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Wow !! Thanks a lot Dave !

I need to process all this precious information now... I need a bit of time to think about it.
I am not in the business allready, it is just at project state right now.

 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I looked online, and here is an example of a Banana Guild for you:
http://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/chapter-10-the-humid-tropics/banana-circle/
Here is some quick information on growing bananas and the rest of the website has tons of useful information about permaculture in the tropics:
http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/growing-bananas.html
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
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Here is a video that gives a nice overview of tropical permaculture:
 
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https://permies.com/t/65247/permaculture-design/permaculture-design-alternative-technology-live
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