Banana production areas and systems
In South Africa 90% of the plant material used is tissue culture. Banana material is 85% Cavendish type (AAA) and 15% Pisang Awak (but only in subsistence farming – not commercial). Commercial banana plantations are planted with irrigation while the subsistence farmers have a few bananas in the back yard without irrigation.
The area is about 12000 ha in the subtropical areas of South Africa. (Limpopo Province, East of Mpumalanga, Kwazulu Natal)
In South Africa, Fusarium Subtropical race 4 is a problem in KZN and Mpumalanga (3 areas in total), nematodes and banana weevil are also a problem in all the banana producing areas. However, when chemical control is done in the plantations especially nematodes can be controlled effectively. The banana weevil seems to become more of a problem country wide.
Bigger constraints are drought, cold and heat (abiotic factors), as well as production costs and labour costs. For the subsistence farmers, biotic factors (especially nematode and banana weevil) do play a major role since they do not use chemical control. Additionally limited water availability adds to the problem as it causes severe stress in winter and early spring which is a dry season in the subtropical area of South Africa. Very little is done to ensure that sucker material is cleaned of pests and diseases in subsistence farming.