Farming Bananas as a Business: Opportunities Available

“The future of the banana industry is beyond food. We should start looking at value addition across the value chain with the aim of commercialization”. These comments were made by the head of the national banana program, Dr Priver Bwesigye, during an engagement with key private sector players in the industry to discuss the opportunities available to them for commercialization.

Dr Tushemereirwe Wilberforce, the Director of National agricultural research laboratories (NARL) speaking at the workshop held at Kawanda.

This discussion was held at the National agricultural research laboratories (NARL) in Kawanda, with the aim of finding out how partnerships between the public and private sector can drive the industry towards agro industrial development. The meeting was officially opened by NARL’s director of research, Dr Tushemereirwe Wilberforce who emphasized the great opportunity the NARO/FTF project presented to the industry. Through this project, sector players get to decide how and what they need to drive the banana sector towards commercialization.

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NARO Banana Promotes Widening Utilization Base of Banana Products

NARO’s Banana Research Program is calling on all farmers to widen their utilization base of banana products as means to address the price problems in the country.

“The best way to address price in the long run is to widen the utilization base of banana, bringing the banana products produced from all parts of the banana plant to the international market,” says the Banana Program Leader, Dr. Priver B. Namanya.

She explains that this move will increase the amount of money generated within the banana sector.

NARO has initiated a number of activities to get more banana products on the market, national, regional, even global where possible.

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MAAIF, NBC Supervise Trial Planting of NARO’s Transgenic Banana

A team from Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) on Friday, 18th September 2020, visited NARO’s National Banana Research Program as it carried out trial planting of its new GMO plants, to observe if the Bio-Safety measures are being followed.

The MAAIF representative Mr. Fred Muzira (second right) speaking to the Banana Program Leader Dr. Priver Namanya (3rd from left) before the planting.

MAAIF was represented by Mr. Fred Muzira, the Senior Agricultural Inspector and NBC by Mr. Musa Kwehangana and Ms. Harriet Ityang (Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs). The inspectors were particular on the biosafety approach being followed in planting these GMO plants and if the staff carrying out the activity are equipped and trained to carry out the exercise.

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Welcome Note


The National Banana Research Program located at National Agricultural Research Laboratories -NARL-Kawanda is one of the national priority crop commodity programs of the National Agricultural Research Organisation. In line with the NDPIII agenda, Banana Program generates and promotes agricultural technologies contributing to food and nutrition security, to competitiveness of banana production and value addition, industrialisation of the banana sector for improved livelihoods. Our innovations and technologies include; 

  • High yielding, East African Highland banana [Matooke] hybrids improved for resistance to pests, diseases and tolerance to drought. With these, the life span of banana plantations increases from 4-5 years to over 50years, especially in ecologies with high disease pressure.
  • Tools, packages and recommendations of Good Agronomic Practices [GAP] including crop management, soil health and water management. Coupled with improved hybrids, it is possible to increase and sustain banana productivity upto 60tons/ha/yr.
  • Basic biotechnology tools and services, such as tissue culture, and advanced biotechnological solutions for difficult to breed-for biotic constraints
  • Innovations, technologies and products in value addition servicing Industry 

The value of banana as a stable food crop that feeds over 70% of Ugandan population, goes beyond food and nutrition security to wealthy, healthy, peaceful families and communities.  However, the potential of wealth from banana has remained under-exploited because of limited organised avenues for value addition. Our research initiatives hold a critical role within the national agenda for Industrialisation of the Banana. 

“Bananas beyond food” is our strategy for expanding avenues of value addition. Enhancing utilisation beyond food is hinged in the realisation that value can be added to every part of the banana plant from leaves, fruits, peels, pseudostems, corms and the roots. Through multi-stakeholder partnerships, we generate technologies, innovations and research solutions servicing industry, the main ones being food, fibre/paper/textiles, energy and pharmaceutical industries. 

Our stakeholders include partners in technology generation, policy makers, regulators, local government, technology endusers – mainly farmers and private sector. We leverage on small holder grassroot farmer networks are increasingly organising  themselves in cooperatives societies under the umbrella of the Uganda National Banana Growers Cooperative Union. Such coordinated, organised value chains and multistakeholder partnerships form an enabling platform for sustainable productivity, value addition networks and systems towards the industrialisation of the Banana crop. 

The National Banana Research Program works in collaboration with national, regional and international partners to deliver research services.  Through diversity of communication channels, we deliver information about our technologies to address unique needs of various stakeholders. On this website, you will find tools and packages in Good Agronomic practices, Improved Hybrids, Value addition, Biotechnology, Partnerships, Our research Projects, Events and much more.

For more information contact us on: 

­­­Telephone: +256 414 699 242 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



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Thank you.

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National Banana Research Program
National Agricultural Research Laboratories
(NARL) - Kawanda P.O. Box 7065, Kampala
along Bombo – Gulu road.

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