One of the most common problems faced when farming saba banana (or pisang kepok in Indonesia) is the bacterial wilt disease or also known as moko. You can spot the symptom of this disease by the reddish brown liquid on the fruits and the pseudostems.
Bacterial wilt disease spread quickly and can cause total harvest failure. This disease is spread by insects that land on the banana inflorescence. It’s very hard to treat this disease other than complete obliteration of infected banana trees.
Farmers’ habit of cutting off the inflorescence, pseudostem, and leaves using the same knife can accelerate the spread of bacterial wilt. Bacterial wilt has the ability to reach bananas in large areas in short time.
However, Indonesia’s official research facility on tropical fruits has released a saba banana cultivar that is bacterial wilt resistant. This cultivar is called pisang kepok tanjung or loosely translated to “tanjung” saba banana. Pisang kepok tanjung doesn’t have inflorescence thus making it impossible for insects to land on it to spread bacteria wilt disease.
The name “tanjung” is an abbreviation for Indonesian words “tanpa jantung” or translated as “no inflorescence”. This cultivar was developed from saba banana in Masohi, Central Maluku, Indonesia, through a series of selection.
Another difference between the regular saba banana and the tanjung saba banana can be seen from the shape of their leaves. When young, tanjung saba banana has narrower leaves with light green bone leaves and pink lines.
Here’s how tanjung saba banana can be superior:
- No inflorescence means significantly less risk of bacteria wilt
- Larger fruits
- Chewier fruit texture, most suitable as cooking banana
- Sweeter fruit
- Has 10-15 bunches of bananas per pseudostem
So, if you’re over the bacterial wilt disease attacking your banana trees, do try this tanjung saba banana cultivar. Good luck!