Paraquat for bananas

BananasThe United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ranks bananas as the world’s fourth most important crop after the major cereals. Bananas are rich in carbohydrate, potassium and vitamins, including A, C, and B6. They are a good source of dietary fibre and are fat-free. Bananas are not only eaten raw. They may be boiled, steamed, mashed and rolled into balls as ‘foutou’, grilled, roasted or fried; a flour for cakes and biscuits is made in the tropics; and in the Philippines, banana ketchup is popular. A beer made from the juice of ripe fruit is popular in central Africa. Animals, especially pigs, are reared on surplus fruit.

Banana fact file

  • 400 million people eat bananas as a staple food
  • 130 countries grow bananas, led by India
  • 55% increase in production since 2000
  • 6 billion dollars worth of annual trade
  • 50 tonnes/ha grown in Costa Rica, 2x world average
Eating a banana can help digestion thanks to the high vitamin A content, and ripe fruit are reported to be used to treat asthma and bronchitis. Even the peel is useful as a poultice or emergency wrap for wounds because the inside of the peel reputedly has anti-septic properties and has been claimed to remove warts. Fibre from leaves makes a strong paper used to make bank notes and tea bags. ‘Manila hemp’ is the fibre from the leaves of the ‘Abaca’ variety of banana, used to make sacks and rope. Banana plantations can be fragile environments and soil, water and biodiversity


The variety of life in all its forms, levels and combinations. Includes ecosystem diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity (IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1991).

Authoritative On-line References and Resources EarthTrends is a comprehensive online database, maintained by the World Resources Institute, that focuses on environmental, social, and economic trends. Statistics on biodiversity indicators are available.
all need special care. Bananas need protecting from weeds, pests and diseases, which flourish if unchecked in tropical climates, so integrated pest management (IPM


A decision support system for crop protection which focuses on long-term prevention or suppression of pest problems with minimum impact on human health, the environment, and non-target organisms. IPM takes into consideration all available pest control techniques and tactics (cultural, mechanical, biological, chemical). IPM emphasizes the growth of healthy crops for better productivity with the least possible disruption to agroecosystems.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources "The USDA's National Site for the Regional IPM Centers' Information System provides information about US commodities, pests and pest management practices, people and issues."
) approaches are widely used to ensure that crops are protected in a sustainable way. Weed management is central to IPM systems and the non-selective


A chemical product used for eliminating all types of weeds (annual and perennial grasses and broadleaved weeds).

Authoritative On-line References and Resources An invaluable source of contemporary information about herbicides and weeds from Iowa State University.
herbicide paraquat has a key role.
In bananas, emphasis is on the management of weeds rather than their permanent removal. Maintaining a balance of weeds in the flora is important for sustainability by IPM techniques and minimising soil erosion


Displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) usually by the agents of currents such as, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources This site brings together reliable information on soil erosion from a wide range of disciplines and sources. It aims to be the definitive internet source for those wishing to find out more about soil loss and soil conservation.
though the anchoring effect of plant roots.
In India bananas are called "kalpatharu", meaning "herb with all imaginable uses"Paraquat is very fast acting and rainfast, unlike glyphosate. Weeds sprayed in the morning will often show symptoms by the afternoon, making it easy for spray operators and plantation managers to see which areas have already been sprayed. This holds even if rain falls within 15-30 minutes, making it possible to spray for longer before rain is expected. Crop safety is especially important while controlling weeds in bananas because the next harvest cycle depends on a new crop of daughter suckers. These are very susceptible to being killed by systemic broad-spectrum herbicides based on glyphosate. Paraquat can be used safely around parent and daughter plants with no fear of accidental spray drift damaging either generation, because it is not systemic, and because it cannot enter roots as it is extremely tightly bound to soil on contact.