better farming series18
FAO Economic and Social Development SeriesNo. 3/18


Published by arrangement with the Institut africain pour le développement économique et social
B.P. 8008, Abidjan, Côte d'lvoire

Reprinted 1984, 1992

ISBN 92-5-100149-9


The titles published in this series are designed as hand-books for intermediate-level agricultural education and training courses. They may be purchased as a set or individually.

  1. The plant: the living plant; the root
  2. The plant: the stem; the buds; the leaves
  3. The plant: the flower
  4. The soil: how the soil is made up
  5. The soil: how to conserve the soil
  6. The soil: how to improve the soil
  7. Crop farming
  8. Animal husbandry: feeding and care of animals
  9. Animal husbandry: animal diseases; how animals reproduce
  10. The farm business survey
  11. Cattle breeding
  12. Sheep and goat breeding
  13. Keeping chickens
  14. Farming with animal power
  15. Cereals
  16. Roots and tubers
  17. Groundnuts
  18. Bananas
  19. Market gardening
  20. Upland rice
  21. Wet paddy or swamp rice
  22. Cocoa
  23. Coffee
  24. The oil palm
  25. The rubber tree
  26. The modern farm business
  27. Freshwater fish farming: how to begin
  28. Water: where water comes from
  29. Better freshwater fish farming: the pond
  30. Better freshwater fish farming: the fish
  31. Biogas: what it is; how it is made; how to use it
  32. Biogas 2: building a better biogas unit
  33. Farming snails 1: learning about snails; building a pen; food and shelter plants
  34. Farming snails 2: choosing snails; care and harvesting; further improvement
  35. Better freshwater fish farming: further improvement
  36. Raising rabbits 1: learning about rabbits; building the pens; choosing rabbits
  37. Raising rabbits 2: feeding rabbits; raising baby rabbits; further improvement
  38. Better freshwater fish farming: raising fish in pens and cages


The first twenty-six volumes in FAO's Better Farming Series were based on the Cours d'apprentissage agricole prepared in the Ivory Coast by the Institut africain de développement économique et social for use by extension workers. Later volumes, beginning with No. 27, have been prepared by FAO for use in agricultural development at the farm and family level. The approach has deliberately been a general one, the intention being to constitute basic prototype outlines to be modified or expanded in each area according to local conditions of agriculture.

Many of the booklets deal with specific crops and techniques, while others are intended to give the farmer more general information which can help him to understand why he does what he does, so that he will be able to do it better.

Adaptations of the series, or of individual volumes in it, have been published in Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Creole, Hindi, Igala, Indonesian, Kiswahili, Malagasy, SiSwati and Turkish, an indication of the success and usefulness of this series.

Requests for permission to issue this manual in other languages and to adapt it according to local climatic and ecological conditions are welcomed. They should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Rome 1977

© French edition, Institut africain pour
le développment économique et social (INADES) 1971
© English edition, FAO 1977

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software. FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.


•   Why bananas are grown

•   Where bananas are grown

•   Description of the banana plant

Underground stem and roots

Apparent trunk




•   How to grow bananas

Preparing the ground and making the plantation

Preparing the soil

Digging the planting holes

Planting the suckers

•   Looking after the plantation

Keeping the soil clean

Applying fertilizers


Supporting the plant

Looking after the fruit

Protection against insects and diseases

•   Harvesting and use of bananas


Output of a plantation

Use of bananas

Running a commercial banana plantation

•   Suggested question paper