This unique project seeks to improve the production and productivity of banana in Tanzania and Uganda, through the development of hybrid banana varieties that are expected to have 30% higher yield compared to the current varieties grown by farmers under the same conditions. In particular, the project will strengthen the banana breeding programs in the two countries, towards developing new high-yielding hybrid banana varieties with resistance to key pests and diseases. The project is focused primarily on building an efficient breeding platform for banana and improving the two most popular cooking bananas in the region: East Africa highland banana (EAHB), also known as Matooke, and Mchare, fortifying resistance against pests and diseases but maintaining the traits enjoyed by consumers.

In close cooperation with National partners in Tanzania and Uganda, breeding activities are led by IITA but based at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania with close collaboration with Agriculture Research Institutes (ARI) in the banana growing areas, and at the Uganda Banana Breeding Programme of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), at Kawanda and Sendusu, Kampala. Numerous other institutes and banana breeding programs are involved with and linked to the project through various mechanisms.

The project aims:

  1. To dramatically upscale existing breeding activities;
  2. To build a breeding and selection pipeline;
  3. To improve data management;
  4. To increase the pace and efficiency of banana breeding.