Tissue culture technique is particularly useful for those plant species which do not produce seeds. Instead, farmers use their vegetative parts for planting. These include plantains, bananas, pineapples, which produce suckers, cassava which uses fresh stem cuttings. Virtually every plant can be subjected to tissue culture technology to produce the required planting material. In Europe and North America, commercial tissue culture technology is used for the production of seed potato, as well as increasingly high value horticultural species like orchids, a variety of floral bulbs and endangered or commercially valuable tree crops like the Douglas fir in the USA.

Currently for plantains and bananas, farmers are compelled to use suckers that the plant produces in its life, usually 3 to 5. In the case of yams, farmers reserve some 20-30% of each season’s crop for planting the next year.  Though basic technologies such as the split corm and tuber have been developed, these cannot provide quantities of planting materials needed for large scale cultivation which would enhance farmers’ incomes and guarantee national food security. 

Our processes:

Plants collected from institutions are inspected for symptoms of virus and other infections. Bacterial, fungal, microbial and nematode infections are removed by the surface sterilization associated with explant preparation for tissue culture. Testing for viruses is limited for those known to be present in the localities where parent material is collected and visual inspection continued after planting in parent garden.

The Centre is located in a part of the country where these crops are not normally cultivated and hence assured absence of diseases of the crops. Notwithstanding this, strict phytosanitary practices to keep plants healthy. We use chemical fertilizer and manure, and irrigate with water impounded in our dam.

The company only multiplies local true varieties without any genetic modification except that which nature imposes. Obvious increases in yield are due principally to the fact that plants are disease free. However, natural susceptibility to any diseases and pests remain, only healthy plants are better able to resist diseases than tired field plants genetically weakened by constant attacks by pests and disease, soils losing their nutrient and environmental factors particularly water and heat stress.
 
Production Scheme and delivery scheme
As is the practice with seedling production and especially tissue culture, we produce to order. Prospective farmers therefore need to order well in advance-at least six months depending on the product type:
a.  Plantlets in tissue culture vessels (pineapples, bananas and plantains only). These have roots, and require acclimatizing (to normal outdoor conditions) and nursing to field readiness. For this, at least five months notice is required. This is the only way plants can be exported, with the advantage of large numbers of plants in a small packing case.

b.  Acclimatized seedlings in plastic or polystyrene seed trays using our special organic planting medium. Plantlets are acclimatized for four to six weeks and then have to be transplanted into soil bags in customer’s farm

c.  Plantlets acclimatized and nursed to field readiness, requiring at least eight months including six to 10 weeks or much longer of nursery in screen house.