TANZANIA – Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) research centres, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), have developed four new improved banana hybrids coded TARIBAN1, TARIBAN2, TARIBAN3, and TARIBAN4.

These improved hybrids are the first-ever, improved banana hybrids to be officially released in the country that are resistant to the important pests and diseases ravaging the current varieties that millions of farmers across the country are growing.

Dr. Tulole Bucheyeki, the Director of one of the TARI research centres, Uyole centre, said the research was a collaborative work between TARI, local and international institutions.

The release of the hybrids follows five years of evaluation in major banana growing regions of Tanzania Kagera, Kilimanjaro and Mbeya.

Mkamilo said the new varieties are resistant to black Sigatoka leaf disease as well as banana weevils, helping farmers to achieve high yields ranging from 35 to 60 tons per ha per year. Currently, farmers average productivity is below 10 tons per ha per year, he explained.

Enabling farmers achieve higher yield of up to 70 tonnes per hectare is a major achievement for the country’s efforts to improve its food security and the incomes of rural farmers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to invite all farmers and investors to visit our TARI centres at anytime and during this year’s Nanenane exhibitions to get this new technology for increased production and productivity,” Mkamilo said.

TARIBAN1  has a medium plant stature (2.5M-3.0M) and medium maturity of 500-600 days from planting to harvesting. TARIBAN2 has a tall plant stature (3.0-3.5M) with a late maturity period of 550 to 650 days as opposed to TARIBAN3 which has a medium stature (2.0-2.8M) and a similar maturity period to TARIBAN1.

TARIBAN4 takes the same stature as TARIBAN3 with quite an early maturity period of between 450-550 days.

All the varieties are tolerant to nematodes which are invisible worms that cause root rotting and toppling. They are also tolerant to banana weevils that reduce plantation longevity and resistance to black Sigatoka which cause black spots to form on the leaves reducing area for photosynthesis.

The farmers can benefit from recent technologies at all agricultural exhibition grounds across the country.

They can also learn the new technology through agricultural technology transfer hubs at Nyakabindi in Baridi, Simiyu Region, at Mwalimu Nyerere agricultural exhibition ground in Morogoro, at John Mwakangale in Mbeya at Ngong in Lindi, among many others, as reported by IPP Media.

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