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Argentina: Productive Alternative for Banana Cultivation Evaluated

26.11.2021

In the subtropics of Jujuy and Salta, a team of INTA specialists studies the cultivation of bananas under a roof or in a greenhouse. It is a technique that would stabilize and improve the production of the fruit with the highest consumption per person in the country. 

The production of bananas in greenhouses is presented as a viable alternative that would improve the quality and quantity of this fruit per unit area. In addition, it would enable the cultivation to be sustained throughout the year in the subtropical region of Salta and Jujuy. 

In a comparative trial in 2020, researchers from the Experimental Station of Tropical Crops of INTA Yuto –Jujuy– evaluated different management strategies for banana plantations. "The importance of this trial lies in evaluating new forms of production for the area, which can be implemented protecting the cultivation from extreme temperatures, that include cold weather, winter frosts and heat peaks in the summer," said Claudio Ortiz, from INTA Yuto. 

In the subtropics of Salta and Jujuy, banana production takes place on some 3,500 hectares, representing a volume of 10% to 15% of the fruit consumed in the country. With the modernization of cultivation under the roof, the banana yield per hectare would increase quality and quantity. The harvest would stabilize throughout the year, thanks to a constant temperature. 

According to Jose Luis Checa, president of the Salta Fruit and Vegetable Association, this essay responds to a demand from the sector, which arose from the Tropical Fruit Cluster, made up of INTA, the Salta Fruit and Vegetable Association, the municipalities, the National Universities of Salta, and Jujuy. 

The main concern of the producers in the area was to protect the fruit against adverse weather conditions. "This technology would allow us to give continuity to production, increase yields per hectare, which can even triple. It would significantly improve the quality and size of the fruit," said Checa. He also added: "Although we have great comparative advantages because our product is healthier and sweeter compared to imported bananas, the climatic factor in extreme cold and heat conditions is a determining factor in crop yields". 

"This alternative seeks to evaluate a different way of working with this crop in our area," said Ortiz, who added: "The implementation of the Silver thermal screen refracts the solar incidence and prevents damage to the crop," he said. 

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