Banana Production Systems: Identification of Alternative Systems for More Sustainable Production
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Large-scale, monoculture production systems dependent on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, increase yields, but are costly and have deleterious impacts on human health and the environment. This research investigates variations in banana production practices in Costa Rica, to identify alternative systems that combine high productivity and profitability, with reduced reliance on agrochemicals. Farm workers were observed during daily production activities; 39 banana producers and 8 extension workers/researchers were interviewed; and a review of field experiments conducted by the National Banana Corporation between 1997 and 2002 was made. Correspondence analysis showed that there is no structured variation in large-scale banana producers’ practices, but two other banana production systems were identified: a small-scale organic system and a small-scale conventional coffee–banana intercropped system. Field-scale research may reveal ways that these practices can be scaled up to achieve a productive and profitable system producing high-quality export bananas with fewer or no pesticides.
KeywordsProduction systems Banana Conventional Organic Costa Rica
I would like to thank Jose Sauma at Corbana, Adriana Rodriguez at Earth University, Miguel Rivera at ACAPRO, Victor Solano and Roberto Chacon at the Ministry of Agriculture, Viria Bravo at IRET, Iriana Martinez, and Romano Orlich and all of the other banana producers who took the time to answer my extensive interview questions.
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