Dr. Rabooni Tumuhimbise, a banana breeder with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), said Naroban5 tastes and looks as good as traditional varieties.
WAKISO - The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries through its variety release committee has released the pest and disease resistant innovative banana variety that includes "Naroban5" and "hybrid" types.
The crops were released during a meeting that took place at the ministry's department of crop inspection and certification office at Namalere Kawanda, in Wakiso district on Tuesday.
Dr. Rabooni Tumuhimbise, a banana breeder with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), said Naroban5 tastes and looks as good as traditional varieties. He noted that the banana type is resistant to key banana diseases and pests such as black Sigatoka, weevils, and nematodes
"This is good news to banana farmers and consumers alike," he stated.
Eldad Karamura, the regional coordinator of Biodiversity International, a global research-for-development organisation said: "This new hybrid has superior taste and will help correct the impression in the consumer market that hybrid bananas do not taste well."
According to him, the market has already responded well and every effort should be made to launch and popularise Naroban5 in Uganda.
Jerome Kubiriba, the head of the banana programme at NARO emphasised that if adopted by many farmers, the new variety has the potential to revive central Uganda's glory as a matooke hub.
"Naroban5 is resistant to diseases that are responsible for the disappearance of banana plantations from Buganda, Busoga and Bunyoro regions. Black Sigatoka, weevils and nematode pressure is what forced farmers in these regions to abandon banana farming. In this new variety, there is an opportunity to revive plantations." Ten million people in central Uganda depend on bananas for both food and income.
The latest variety is the 7th hybrid matooke to be released from NARO's banana research programme. It also contributes to government efforts to transform the agriculture sector by increasing land and labour productivity through the delivery of improved seed to the farming communities.