At Cyrus Muriithi’s 1.6 ha banana farm in Gituro village in Kirinyaga Central Sub County, bananas thrive at altitudes of between 0 and 1,800 metres above sea level. Rainfall there is 1,000 – 2,000 mm/year. The banana plants form a deep green canopy while the ground is clear of weeds or the dried up leaves that one normally finds in orchards.
Muriithi, who is one of the most successful banana farmers in Kirinyaga County, has been farming bananas since the year 2000. The Kiganda variety is well-known as a cooking banana. Before settling on bananas he has grown virtually every other food crops farmed in his neighbourhood such as tomatoes, french beans and vegetables.
In his nascent days in banana growing, the farmer not only cultivated the Kiganda variety but also also Kampala and Nyoro (Cavendish bananas) for ripening for consumption as fruits. Two years down the line, he zeroed on Kiganda after he was impressed by its “faster maturity, resistance to diseases and less dependence on props.
Standardmedia.co.ke quoted him as saying: “From planting, a banana produces its inflorescence at eight months and the bunch is mature for harvesting in about four months for Kiganda but takes a while longer for the other varieties.”