Item Details

Title: The performance of East African highland bananas
released in farmers’ fields and the need for their
further improvement

Date Published: 2016
Author/s: J. Kubiriba, R.T. Ssali, A. Barekye, K. Akankwasa, W.K. Tushemereirwe, M. Batte,
E.B. Karamura and D. Karamura
Data publication:
Funding Agency : Rockefeller foundation, the government of Uganda, AGRA, and USAID-ABSPII
Copyright/patents/trade marks: International Society for Horticultural Science
Journal Publisher: International Society for Horticultural Science
Affiliation: National Agricultural Research Laboratories, PO Box 7065, Kampala, Uganda, International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture, Uganda; Bioversity International/CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB),
106 Katalima Road, Naguru, PO Box 24384, Kampala, Uganda
Keywords: breeding, consumer acceptability, hybrids, pest and disease resistance


East African highland bananas (AAA, EAHB) form over 80% of the banana
cultivars in the Great Lakes region and are a source of food and income for over 40
million in the region. The production of these bananas has been constrained by pests,
diseases, soil fertility decline and most recently climate change stresses. Farmers have
been managing these problems using cultural practices. These are sometimes
effective, such as for Xanthomonas wilt control, but can also be very demanding. For
others, no cultural control practices exist, such as for instance for nematodes in
established plantations. The banana research program of the National Agricultural
Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda therefore focuses on the improvement of
bananas for pest/disease resistance and fruit quality through conventional and
molecular breeding to sustain banana production. In collaboration with the
International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the NARO breeding program
has developed and officially released a number of banana hybrids to the farming
communities, including ‘Kabana 6H’ (syn. ‘M9’) and ‘Kabana 7H’ (syn. ‘M2’). The
released and promising hybrids have resistance to black leaf streak and tolerance to
nematodes and weevils. Their overall consumer acceptability is not significantly
different from that of the landrace local check. The recipient communities value the
hybrids since they are being widely distributed through sales and giveaways in
addition to recipient farmers expanding their plots. However, these hybrids are
susceptible to Xanthomonas wilt, and are very tall and prone to wind damage. There
is an opportunity to improve the hybrids for above-mentioned and other traits
exploiting Musa’s over 36,000 genes in the sequenced genome.