Design and assessment of innovative organic banana cropping systems - BANABIO

Over the last 10 years, conventional dessert banana cropping systems in the West Indies have gradually evolved towards ecologically intensive systems. Organic agriculture is the most advanced step in this agroecological transition. The goal of the BANABIO project is to encourage this development in Martinique by improving scientific knowledge about these organic cropping systems.
​​​​​​​The “Biodiversified” system set up at the experimental site – June 2020 © C. Guillermet, CIRAD
​​​​​​​The “Biodiversified” system set up at the experimental site – June 2020 © C. Guillermet, CIRAD

The “Biodiversified” system set up at the experimental site – June 2020 © C. Guillermet, CIRAD

Issues

Martinique is a humid tropical zone with substantial levels of certain pests and strong island constraints on the supply of some inputs, especially organic. Moreover, production in the West Indies is restricted by stringent quality requirements for exports and an extremely competitive international market. Despite this, social and regulatory developments mean that organic agriculture could become a realistic and desirable framework of constraints in the French West Indies.

Today, the lack of technical and economic references on this mode of production limits its development within producers’ organizations. The goal of this project is therefore to assess the performance and impacts of such systems, aimed at both export and local markets.

Description

The BANABIO project is divided into four parts:

  • Setting up an experimental system at a research station associating researchers and stakeholders in the field of organic farming in Martinique. The goal is to assess under controlled conditions two prototype organic cropping systems for the Cavendish variety, which will then be compared with a conventional farming system.
  • Producing technical knowledge about the performance of these systems, as well as about their disadvantages.
  • Identifying new technical levers by monitoring pioneer farmers.
  • Supporting the transfer of these organic farming systems to volunteer farmers, in order to assess their performance under real conditions and their uptake by producers of bananas for local and export markets.

Expected impacts

  • Development of a network of different actors concerned by organic farming in Martinique.
  • Establishment of technical and economic references for farmers and decision-makers, which will help to better characterize organic banana production systems, and will be included in the national database Agrosyst.
  • Assessment of the feasibility of and conditions for the potential conversion of planters to organic systems.
  • Participation in training through research.
  • Production of scientific publications on agronomy and ecology within organic cropping systems.
  • Popularization and dissemination of results to a broad public.
Technical visit organized at the experimental site – July 2019 © C. Guillermet, CIRAD

Technical visit organized at the experimental site – July 2019 © C. Guillermet, CIRAD

Contract partners

Institut Technique Tropical (IT2)