A century of banana research and development in Uganda, 1898-1998

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W. K. Tushemereirwe


Uganda has a long tradition ofcultivating the banana, an important food and cash crop in the country. The crop is believed to have to arrived in the Great Lakes Region around 500 AD but major expansion across Uganda occurred in the last 100 years. During this time, the major production constraints that emerged in other banana growing areas around the Globe finally found their way into Uganda in 1989 when the government of Uganda was overwhelmed by an outcry that the bananas were in great danger. This paper outlines efforts to address banana research programme. The paper highlights baseline banana production and utilization practices and notes soil fertility decline as the only major constraint by 1902. It also notes earliest records of the key pests and diseases of banana as; 1918 for the banana weevil, 1952 for Fusarium wilt, 1963 for Radopholus Similis (nematode), 1989 for black sigatoka and 1996 for banana streak virus. Arrival of weevil, fusarium wilt and R. Similis has been attributed to importation of new germplasm into the country during the colonial administration. A strategy to address the constraints is described. This involves integrating technologies that prevent a build up of pests and prevent soil degradation in areas of western Uganda where black sigatoka is not a problem. In central Uganda where bananas have severely declined because of the pests and disease, the strategy provides for integration of host pant resistance with practices that improve soil fertility. On- going studies based on this strategy are highlighted.

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K. Tushemereirwe, W. (2001). A century of banana research and development in Uganda, 1898-1998. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 6(1), 27–36. Retrieved from http://journal.naro.go.ug/index.php/ujas/article/view/419

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