NARO Holds Food Tasting Activities in Bugiri, Hoima & Sheema
In March, May and June 2023, the National Banana Research Program held a food tasting/sensory activity in Bugiri, Hoima and Sheema Districts respectively, where farmers from selected Sub Counties participated in tasting the matooke hybrids determining the best hybrid after cooking.
These new cooking matooke varieties (hybrids) are currently undergoing on-farm field evaluation in Bugiri, Hoima and Sheema Districts. These varieties are developed by NARO in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Each district has five representative farms selected to plant the varieties and participate in determining the best for them to adopt. Therefore, at these organised food tasting activities, NARO cooks and gives farmers to taste and score the various varieties based on colour, softness, taste, flavour among other attributes.
According to Dr. Ivan Arinaitwe, the NARO breeder, matooke testing activity is part of the process of developing the hybrids. When they are developed, they undergo on-farm evaluation in different agroecological zones across the country, where farmers grow them, eat them and determine the best hybrid after cooking. This is based on attributes such as taste, colour, flavour and texture.
The activities also involve inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture, who supervise, score and give permission to release the selected varieties to the farmers. Their findings are then reported to the Variety Release Committee which is in-charge of releasing the best hybrid to the public.
These hybrids code-named NARITAs have resistance to pests and diseases and are tolerant to harsh climate conditions such as drought. They include NARITA 4, NARITA17, NARITA22, NARITA 18 and NARITA 24. This was the first harvest of these varieties in the 3 regions.