High yielding banana varieties now released

Tuesday May 24 2022
Banana PIC
By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. Banana production in Tanzania yesterday got a major boost following the release of a high yielding variety called Tariban.

The hybrid in four strains - Tariban 1, Tariban 2, Tariban 3 and Tariban 4, can yield between 25 and 35 tonnes of bananas per hectare per year.

The variety which has been developed after many years of research is also resistant to common pests and diseases compared to the traditional varieties.

“Our farmers will now be much better off,” said the Arusha Regional Commissioner John Mongela when he graced the official release at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST).

The common pests and diseases which impacted the production of the age -old food crop in some parts of Tanzania and other countries include Nematodes, weevils, black Sigatoka and Fusarium wilt, among others.

Mr Mongela counselled the farmers that now the improved variety has been released, they should double their efforts in the production of the crop that has potential for the export market..

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Officials of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari) said this was the first time ever for improved banana hybrids to be officially released and certified by the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (Tosci)..

The hybrid was developed using the tissue culture technology undertaken at the Tari centres at Tengeru, near Arusha, Uyole (Mbeya) and Tari Mikocheni in Dar es Salaam.

Some commercial labs run by the private people were also used to maximize the multiplication efforts.

According to statistics, banana is serving both as a food and cash crop for over three million smallholder farmers in Tanzania, notably in the northern, Lake and southern highland regions. Unlike other staple crops, banana delivers food throughout the year, making it an important food security crop by bridging the ‘hunger gap’ between crop harvests.

The successful launching of the hybrid follows a long collaboration between Tari and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) whose eastern Africa centre is in Dar es Salaam.

The Nelson Mandela University or NM-AIST has been roped in due to its technical capability which include the laboratory facilities; researchers and for training purposes.

Tari director general Dr Geoffrey Mkamilo defended Tariban, the name given to the new variety, saying it stands for Tari and Banana and that it should not be associated with any other thing.

He said the new variety has passed through the necessary regulatory requirements for releasing new varieties of agricultural crops.