This project was implemented in China from 2010 to 2014 by the Institute of Fruit Tree Research of the Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Guangzhou. Due to the potential domestic and export market for organic bananas, the project aimed to generate more income for smallholders by producing organic bananas instead of conventional bananas. While labor requirements are greater, the lower input requirements and premium price for organic bananas present an interesting income opportunity for smallholder farmers.
The project was implemented in five fields, totaling 100 hectares, in the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan. The project facilitated an integrated approach in knowledge sharing and capacity development involving researchers, extension agents, marketers, companies and growers on aspects related to production, processing, certification and marketing.
After four years of operation, yields for organic banana were lower than for conventionally grown bananas, but because of the premium prices, farmers realized an additional income. The total income for the project area of 100 hectares was estimated as between USD 1,800,000 to USD 3,000,000 or an increase of USD 800,000 to USD 1,000,000 compared to conventional banana. As organic farming improves with time, a longer period is required to see the full benefits such as improvements in soil fertility and higher and more sustainable yields. It is anticipated that with an expanding market, growing organic bananas instead of conventional bananas can improve smallholders’ incomes and livelihoods.