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Agro-climatic zoning to banana-growing in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce/ Zoneamento agroclimatico para a cultura da banana na mesorregiao Vale do Rio Doce--MG.


Fruit growing is an activity that has contributed significantly to national economic development, due to its capacity of employment and income generation in the agribusiness chain. This activity generates about five million jobs and accounts for 25% of national agricultural production. Brazil is the world's third largest fruit producer, with 43.6 million tons harvested in 2.2 million hectares. 53% of this production is destined for the fresh fruit market and the remaining 47% for the processed fruit. Brazilian fruit growing is practiced with tropical, subtropical and temperate fruits due to the territorial extension of the country, geographical position, different soil types and different climatic conditions. There are 500 native edible fruit species, 220 of them found in the Amazon (CNA, 2013; IBRAF, 2013).

Among the fruits produced and commercialized in the country, banana (Musa spp.) occupies a prominent position. Brazil was the sixth largest fruit producer in 2012 (SALOMAO; SIQUEIRA, 2015). Minas Gerais accounts for 8.9% of national production, represented by 654,000 tons harvested in 41.400 hectares (IBGE, 2014). The consumer market is the applicant of the fruit to the growing urban populations. Its consumption fresh and as raw material for products such as sweets, flour, dry banana and handcraft has increased considerably in the recent years. According to FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Brazilians reached an average consumption per capita year of 29.1 kg of banana, two and a half times the world average consumption (FAO, 2014). This high consumption is due to the knowledge of the nutritional value of the fruit, associated to the excellent flavor and low market price.

The consumer market for bananas responds positively to the introduction of initiatives of new products and new producing regions. These new regions, when present edaphoclimatic conditions satisfying the demands of the culture, contribute to increase productivity and banana quality. In this context, the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has characteristics that qualify it for the cultivation of bananas. It is the sixth largest mesoregion of the state in area, with 41,809.87 [km.sup.2], and has fertile soils and high temperatures suitable for tropical fruit cultivation and long-cycle plants such as banana. In addition, the Vale do Rio Doce present to be economically stagnated requiring incentives for the establishment of banana plantations in order to improve life quality of the population and boost regional development. The knowledge of edaphoclimatic conditions of Vale do Rio Doce is important for evaluating the eventual deployment and/or establishment of commercial banana crop. Such knowledge is possible by agroclimatic zoning.

If understood the concept of Wollman and Galvani (2013), the zoning is the technique of delimitation of aptitude of growing regions as the climate and soil factors in macroclimatic and regional scales. It is used to identify and delimitate areas suitable for crops or subject to climate risks or fitodisease escape (PEREIRA et al. 2002; SENTELHAS; MONTEIRO, 2009). This is a technique of specialization of one or more combined information (SENTELHAS; MONTEIRO, 2009).

In zoning, low resolution images and low quality interpolators can compromise the accuracy of the results. The interpolation of spatial data is a tool used to estimate any numeric variable in a point where its measurement was not performed. The geostatistical interpolation ponders the neighbors of the point to be estimated, in a not tendentious manner and with minimum variance to generate not biased maps (AKKALA et al., 2010). The quality of data spacialization provided by different interpolators has not received proper attention. The zoning is subject to incorporation of new study methodologies, larger number of variables, with more consistent data sets and use of interpolators that present more effective results (PEZZOPANE et al., 2012).

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) has made climate risk zoning for banana in the state of Minas Gerais, identifying municipalities able for cultivation and the planting periods with less climatic risk for the culture (BRASIL, 2010). Agroclimatic zoning have been prepared for fruit trees like avocado (ZARO et al., 2014) and macadamia nut (SCHNEIDER et al. 2012).

In this study we used the agro-climatic zoning for banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce, in accordance with the methodology used by MAPA, adding altimetry data with the use of higher resolution satellite images.


The mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has 140 municipalities allocated in the regions of Aimores, Caratinga, Governador Valadares, Guanhaes, Ipatinga, Mantena and Pecanha. It is located in the east of the state, between latitudes 18[degrees]49'12" and 19[degrees]03'00" South and meridians 40[degrees]49'18" and 43[degrees]33'36" west of Greenwich and occupies an area of 41,791 [km.sup.2] (Figure 1).

For drawing up the agro-climatic zoning it was considered the factors: rainfall, altitude, type and class of soil aptitude, temperature and water stress. For each factor has been established the parameter for the agricultural potential of the commercial banana, according to the criteria of culture requirements (ALVES et al., 1999; PEREIRA et al., 2007; RODRIGUES et al., 2008; COELHO et al. 2009) (Table 1):

a) average temperature higher than 18[degrees]C and lower than 35[degrees]C. The average of 28[degrees] C was considered preferential;

b) Average annual rainfall between 1,200 mm and 1,900 mm, being 1,900 mm preferential;

c) altitude from 0 to 300 m;

d) water deficit lower than 100 mm;

e) soils Groups I and II (Table 2).

In accordance with the above criteria were defined classes of aptitude for cultivation: preferential, suitable, suitable with irrigation, suitable with soil management, restricted by altitude, restricted by soil and inept (Tables 1 and 2). These classes allow you to identify suitable and inapt regions and with specific restrictions per variable evaluated.

Information on thermal conditions was obtained from the weather stations of the National Institute of Meteorology (INMET) located in the municipalities of Aimores and Caratinga, with historical series of 22 years. However, considering the lack of information on meteorological data it was necessary to use models such as multiple regression equations (SEDIYAMA; MELO JUNIOR, 1998; MEDEIROS et al., 2005). For sites deprived of information, it was estimated the average annual temperature by means of regression equations, using the geographical coordinates and the altitude of the desired point. Thus it was also used data from meteorological stations of Hydrological Information System (HIDROWEB) of the National Water Agency (ANA) which, together with INMET stations totaled 102 points, complementing the spatial data.

The altimetry data were obtained from the digital elevation model (DEM) generated from ASTER images (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Reflection Radiometer) of October 2011, whose resolution has 30 m with vertical error of 7 to 14 m, using geographic projection system WGS84 (World Geodetic system) (ASTER, 2013).

Rainfall data of the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce were obtained from Guimaraes et al. (2004) and ANA, resulting in 51 historical series. The data series of the ANA's HIDROWEB system were selected on the basis of the collection duration (over 30 years), of its continuity and of the result of the consistency analysis.

To calculate the soil water deficit for banana plant it was used the normal hydric balance proposed by Thornthwaite and Mather (1955), from the spreadsheet developed by Rolim et al. (1998). It was taken as the amount of available water capacity in the soil (AWC) 100 mm, to be considered an average value for the culture according to Pereira et al. (2002). The normal water balance resulted from the joint analysis of temperature and average monthly precipitation of each station considered. The monthly average rainfall data were also obtained from the INMET weather stations and stations used to estimate the average monthly temperature.

Information on soil types have been acquired from the Integrated Use Program of Geoprocessing from the Government of Minas Gerais (Geominas). The Geographic Information System (GIS) used to generate the maps and perform their crossing was the ArcGIS version 10, with kriging interpolation methods for the generation of temperature maps and IDW (Inverse Distance Weighted) for the remaining maps. GIS and spatial interpolation techniques may be revised in Akkala et al. (201


Considering the demands of the culture, the optimum temperature is 28[degrees]C, with a minimum of 18[degrees]C and maximum 35[degrees]C. The banana tree should not be grown in areas with minimum temperature below 15[degrees]C, as there is paralysis of their metabolic activity or above 35[degrees]C when occurs the paralyzation of its development by dehydration of the leaves (ALVES et al., 1999; PEREIRA et al., 2007; RODRIGUES et al., 2008; COELHO et al. 2009). It is verified that the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has, throughout its length, thermal conditions favorable to the cultivation of banana tree to present annual average temperatures within the required range (18[degrees] to 35 [degrees]C) for the good development of crops (Figure 2). Regarding the altitude, the range from 0 to 300 m was considered ideal for maximum productivity of banana tree (ALVES et al., 1999; PEREIRA et al., 2007; RODRIGUES et al., 2008; COELHO et al. 2009). It is known that in regions with altitude above 300 m the banana tree increases the duration of the production cycle. It is noted that more than 30% of the area of the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce (12,832 [km.sup.2]) has altitudes within the ideal range for growing (Figure 3). More than 65% of the mesoregion area (27,532 [km.sup.2]) presents altitudes within the acceptable range (between 0 and 900 m) for banana production, and only 3.4% of the area has altitude above 900 m, considered inappropriate (Table 1, Figure 3).

Regarding precipitation, the culture requires an average of 1,900 mm well distributed throughout the year. The consumption of water by the plant is high and constant, due to its morphology and hydration of the tissues. Annual rainfall below 1,200 mm restricts the cultivation of banana tree, as difficult or prevents the release of the inflorescence (ALVES et al., 1999; PEREIRA et al., 2007; RODRIGUES et al., 2008; COELHO et al. 2009). Thus, the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce have 34.3% of its area (14,332.8 [km.sup.2]) suitable for cultivation having average annual rainfall within the acceptable range (1,200-1,900 mm) for fruit production and 65.7 % of its area (27,456.5 [km.sup.2]) unsuited to cultivation to present annual average rainfall below 1,200 mm (Figure 4).

For water deficit, the annual limit considered acceptable for the banana cultivation is 100 mm. The deficit above 100 mm reduces plant productivity and the quality of its fruit (ALVES et al., 1999; PEREIRA et al., 2007; RODRIGUES et al., 2008; COELHO et al. 2009). Thus, it is observed that the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has no favorable hydric conditions to be out of the acceptable limit of water deficiency (Figure 5). Throughout the extent of the mesoregion, water deficiency ranges from 116 mm (West and South) to 379 mm (Midwest and Northeast), annual amounts considered high for banana production in unirrigated conditions. In this sense, the banana plantation in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce should only be recommended with supplementary irrigation.

Latosolic soils are suitable for banana production to be well-drained, deep (over 100 cm), medium texture to clayish, well-structured, permeable, fertile, neutral to slightly acidic pH, no risk of flooding and salinity free (SALOMAO; SIQUEIRA, 2015). On the other hand, the shallow, rocky soils, as Neosoil and rocky outcrops are inadequate. The mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has more than 97% of its area suitable for banana cultivation by having Yellow, Red, Yellow and Red Latosols, Red Yellow Podzolic and Red Nitosol (Figure 6). Only 2.8% of the mesoregion are considered unsuitable for the banana crop, they are Neosoil or rocky outcrop, both inapt for culture.

From the suitability maps generated for each variable considered in the study, it was obtained agro-climatic zoning map for the banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce (Figure 7). In it you can see that the mesoregion has 28.7% of the area suitable for the cultivation of bananas, since if practiced with irrigation. This area of 11,000 [km.sup.2] or 1.1 million ha is 27 times larger than the current area planted with banana throughout the state of Minas Gerais. About 71.3% of the area is considered inappropriate to the cultivation of bananas. This is due to the altitude related to the type of mesoregion soil. For this last area, techniques are recommended as liming, fertilization and irrigation (more installments) for inapt soils (Neosoil). For restricted soils (Cambisoils), besides liming and fertilization is recommended the contour lines and rows of vegetation to allow banana production.

In relation to areas with unsuitable altitudes to banana cultivation (above 900 m) it is recommended the evaluation of the cost-benefit of the use of protected environment for commercial production. Banana growers have available several lines of credit, both for investments in infrastructure as well as for costing of the implanted culture. In some regions of the Canary Islands (Spain) it was observed that the weight of banana bunches increased by 20% under protected cultivation, compared to cultivation in the open sky (GALAN SAUCO et al., 1998). Good banana yields are obtained in protected crops also in Morocco (JANICK; AIT-OUBAHOU, 1989). Thus, it is necessary to evaluate whether the increase in productivity with the banana crop in a protected environment justifies the investment made in the activity.


The agro-climatic zoning for banana plants in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce has allowed the conclusion that 28.7% of the area comprising the micro-regions of Guanhaes, Mantena and Aimores, has favorable conditions for irrigated cultivation.


We would like to thank the IFMG by the support given to the research, to CAPES for financial support, to the INMET and ANA for the availability of data on the Internet; and to the Federal University of Vicosa for the PhD opportunity.


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(1) (Paper 050-15). Received January 22, 2015. Accepted July 06, 2015.

(2) DSc in Phytotechnology, Professor at IFMG, Sao Joao Evangelista Campus, Av. 1 de Junho, 1043, 39705-000, Sao Joao Evangelista--MG. E-mail:

(3) DSc in Genetics and Improvement, Professor at the Federal University of Vicosa, Department of Plant Science, Av. P H Rolfs, s / n, 36570-900, Vicosa-MG. E-mail:

(4) PhD in Horticulture, Professor at the Federal University of Vicosa, Department of Plant Science, Av. P H Rolfs, s / n, 36570-900, Vicosa-MG. E-mail:

Caption: FIGURE 1--Mosaic Image of Landsat 7 ETM with RGB composition and localization of the study area in relation to Minas Gerais.

Caption: FIGURE 2--Annual average temperature zones for the cultivation of banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.

Caption: FIGURE 3--Altitude zones for the cultivation of banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.

Caption: FIGURE 4--Rainfall zones for the cultivation of banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.

Caption: FIGURE 5--Water deficit zones for the cultivation of banana in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.

Caption: FIGURE 6--Soil zones for banana cultivation in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.

Caption: FIGURE 7--Agro-climatic zoning for banana cultivation in the mesoregion of Vale do Rio Doce.
TABLE 1--Classes of aptitude for banana cultivation.

Classes of Aptitude             Annual average         Annual water
                           temperature ([degrees]C)   deficiency (mm)

Preferential                          28                   <100
Suitable                            18-35                  <100
Suitable with irrigation            18-35                  >100
Suitable with soil                  18-35                  <100
Restricted by altitude              18-35                  <100
Restricted by soil                  18-35                  <100
Inept                              <15e>35                 >100

Classes of Aptitude        Annual average   Altitude   Soils
                           rainfall (mm)      (m)

Preferential                    1900         0-300       I
Suitable                     1200-1900       0-900      II
Suitable with irrigation       <1200         0-900      II
Suitable with soil           1200-1900       0-900      III
Restricted by altitude       1200-1900        >900      II
Restricted by soil           1200-1900       0-900      IV
Inept                          <1200          >900      IV

TABLE 2--Classes of soil aptitude for banana cultivation.

Group   Classes of        Soils

I       Preferred soils   Oxisol Eutroferric and Eutrophic Red
                          Yellow Eutrophic Alfisoil, Luvisol
                          Haplic, Cambisol, Chernossolos and
                          Fluvic Neossols Eutrophic, non-salty,
                          non-sodic and well drained.

II      Suitable soils    Rhodic Eutrophic Red Yellow Eutrophic
                          Alfisoil, Luvisol Haplic, Cambisol,
                          Chernosol Argiluvico and Neosoil Fluvic
                          Eutrophic, non-salty, non-sodic and well
                          drained, Distroferric Red Latosol and
                          dystrophic Red Yellow Latosol and
                          Yellow, Red Nitosol Dystroferric Ultisol
                          dystrophic and Yellow, Cambisol,
                          Vertisol, Chernosol Argiluvico, Fluvic
                          Neossols Dystrophic and or poorly
                          drained, Gleysol, Organosols and

III     Restricted soil   Quartzarenic Neosols Yellow Dystrophic
                          Red Latosol (medium texture) and Iron
                          Quadrangle, Luvisol and Argisol shallow,
                          Chernosol Rendzico, Luvisol Chromic
                          shallow Orthic, shallow Cambisol,
                          Neosoil, Spodosol and some Planosols
                          with thick surface horizons (over 50

IV      Inapt soil        Litholic Neosols, Argissolos shallow and
                          / or stony, Cambisol shallow and / or
                          stony, Luvisol Chromic Orthic shallow,
                          Planosol and Gleysol.

Source: Adapted from EMBRAPA (2006).
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Author:Coelho, Geovalia Oliveira; Dias, Luiz Antonio Dos Santos; Finger, Fernando Luiz
Publication:Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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