The overall objective of the project was to establish an integrated pilot production and marketing unit with modern farming and marketing capacities involving both private entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers. Production focused on premium quality bananas for domestic and regional export markets. Investment was being promoted by demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of modern plantations and associated post-harvest processing and marketing units. The project also linked smallholder producers to the input procurement and primary processing and marketing capabilities of private entrepreneurs to enable them to acquire necessary inputs and access to processing and marketing facilities. The project aimed at developing a nucleus plantation of private entrepreneurs and associate smallholder plantations, producing high quality bananas through the introduction of new plant materials and high yielding varieties which are resistant to pests and diseases.
Plant material imported from France was produced in-vitro and 150,000 plants were distributed to a private enterprise and to smallholders. The area cultivated in banana under the project is approximately 75 hectares, comprising 50 hectares on smallholders’ plots and 25 hectares on the private plantations. Plant material produced from the imported varieties is being sold to non-project growers thus contributing to a further rehabilitation of the banana sector in Guinea. Technical assistance was provided to ensure that plantations are run on sound agricultural practices and the application of appropriate inputs. Through this project the awareness of the use of banana crop as a potential cash crop was created. The planting of small banana plots by small holders in the prefecture of Coyah made it possible to attract attention and interest from other small and medium size farmers to banana production. Moreover, the creation of a farmer’s organization COPBAN within a cooperative umbrella has bought together small farmers. The project is operationally completed. After completion, the project activities are currently taken over by the national government and are embedded in the national programme in support of the banana sector.