Research at the Musa sp. nursery at IITA-Kampala (Brigitte Uwimama).

Access to genetic analysis accelerates banana breeding in East Africa

Banana producers face many pests and diseases that affect their crop, such as Panama disease caused by soil fungi, leaf spot disease, bacterial wilt, weevils and nematodes, to mention just a few. This threatens not only the tasty and nutritious fruit found in supermarkets around the world, but also the cooking bananas (or plantains) that are an important part of …

NARITA hybrids cross borders for farmers’ evaluation in Kenya

In improving banana production in East Africa countries, researchers at Kenyatta University in Kenya are now multiplying and testing for the adoption of NARITA hybrid varieties that are high yielding and resistant to Black Sigatoka disease. Banana is the third most important food after maize and rice, with an annual production of 1.5 million tons, lower than the 4.4 million …

TOSCI officials collecting data from Distinctive Uniformity and Stability Trial before approval for release of the hybrids (Photo by Mpkoki/TARI)

Hope for Tanzanian banana farmers with the official release of new “matooke” hybrids

Tanzania has officially released four new, improved hybrids of the important staple cooking banana, “matooke”. This is a first for matooke bananas in Tanzania. These hybrids are resistant to important pests and diseases ravaging the current varieties that millions of farmers across the country are growing and, as such, herald an exciting era for banana cultivation in the country. The …

Hardier bananas and plantains

Plantain and highland cooking bananas are important staple crops in West-Central Africa and Eastern Africa, respectively. They play an essential role in food security, enhanced livelihoods, and resilient agricultural systems.   But breeding bananas and plantains was for a long time considered impossible due to sterility and triploidy – containing only vestigial seeds, they are unable to sexually reproduce. This poses challenges for the development of improved varieties able to withstand threats …

Food for Thought: Genetic Gains in Banana and Plantain Breeding in Africa

Africa planted 6.3 million ha with bananas and plantains equivalent to 57.9% of the global 10.9 million ha used for these crops. The continent produced 48.2 million tons of the favorite fruit worldwide or 30.4% of the total global harvest of 158.4 million tons, with an average yield of 7.6 t/ha versus a world average of 14.6 t/ha in 2019. …

Banana hybrids can more than double the yield of best parents

Hybrid crops are expected to have higher edible yields than their parents, but by how much? A team of researchers comparing the performance of the East Africa Highland banana, locally known as ‘Matooke’, found that some hybrids had bunch weights that were up to two and a half times heavier than those of their best performing parents! This significant yield …

Two of the selected high-yielding Mchare hybrids with resistance to Fusarium wilt.

“Breeding Better Bananas” project excels in developing new ‘Matooke’ hybrids

In October 2019, the “Breeding Better Bananas” project transitioned into Phase II—“Accelerated Breeding Better Bananas”—to further streamline the conventional breeding of banana in East Africa. This project brings together an international spectrum of partners to transform the national banana breeding programs in Uganda and Tanzania. This improved banana breeding pipeline has produced more than 231 Matooke hybrids for advanced screening …

27th Foundation day & Kisan Mela

Approaches and Strategies for Augmenting Export of Bananas from India Date: Friday 21 August 2020 Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm (New Delhi time) Venue: Virtual event Download Poster | Program

Going Bananas

Evolution, pests and diseases are threatening the banana with EXTINCTION, so a global network of researchers is working to keep it alive.

Disease-free cooking bananas developed

Scientists have announced a breakthrough in the search for banana varieties that will be resistant to pests and diseases.
The announcement was made during the fifth annual improvement of bananafor smallholder farmers project planning workshop held at Lake View Hotel Mbarara