New High-yield Cooking Banana Cultivars with Multiple Resistances to Pests and Diseases (‘NAROBan1’, ‘NAROBan2’, ‘NAROBan3’, and ‘NAROBan4’) Released in Uganda
Arinaitwe, Ivan K.
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‘NAROBan1’, ‘NAROBan2’, ‘NAROBan3’, and ‘NAROBan4’ are secondary triploid cooking banana cultivars. They were bred by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda, and officially released and added to the national cultivar list by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in 2017. The cultivars are highly resistant to black Sigatoka, a fungal disease caused by Mycosphaer- ella fijiensis (Morelet), which was the main breeding target. In addition, they are resistant to the banana weevil Cosmopolites sordidus (Germar) and nematodes, the pests of most economic concern in banana production, especially in the lowland areas of central and eastern Uganda. Compared with the local cultivars, which have an average bunch yield of less than 30% of their potential of 60 to 70 t/ha/year, ‘NAROBan1’, ‘NAROBan2’, ‘NAROBan3’, and ‘NAROBan4’ produce average bunch yields of 54.9 t/ha/year, 60.4 t/ha/year, 64.7 t/ha/year, and 68.8 t/ha/year, respectively. Moreover, they have soft, tasty, aromatic, and near-yellow food colors, which make them appreciated like the existing farmer-accustomed local cooking banana cultivars that have, however, a low yield and are susceptible to pests and diseases.