NEWS & EVENTS

Ugandan scientists developing 'super bananas' to save the fruit from extinction

Uganda has the highest per capita consumption of bananas in the world. Tens of millions of people depend on the fruit as a source of food and income. But for decades, farmers have been struggling with unremitting pests and diseases. To save the beloved banana from dying out, scientists at National Banana Research Program and farmers are trying to develop a super breed that can withstand these attackers.

Listen to full interview on DW: CLICK HERE

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National Biosafety Committee (NBC) Inspects NARO's Confined Field Trials of Transgenic Bananas with Enhanced Levels of Pro-Vitamin A

On 01 September 2021, the National Biosafety Committee (NBC) conducted an inspection tour at the multilocation Confined Field Trials of transgenic bananas with enhanced levels of Pro-Vitamin A located at the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL) at Kawanda.

This visit followed an earlier inspection conducted at NARO’s National Banana Research Program in September 2020 at the trial planting of these transgenic bananas, to observe if the Bio-Safety measures were being followed.

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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FTF - NARO Project Introduces Improved Banana Varieties in Northern Uganda

National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) under Feed the Future Project (FtF) has introduced improved banana varieties which are tolerant to pests and diseases in Northern Uganda to address food and income security problems in the region.

In the broader promotion of banana production in the Acholi and Lango, the project decided to introduce preferred cultivars after identifying the available banana market and market gaps to be exploited in the region. Banana consumption in Acholi and Lango is estimated to be worth Ush25.99billion per year. Most of this is outsourced from other regions and thus presenting a market potential for banana production within the region.

A NARO official counting the banana tissue culture plantlets before distributing them to selected host farmers across the four project sites in Gulu, Nwoya, Lira and Oyam. 

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NARO and private sector in move to address export challenges in banana

NARO through USAID funded Feed the Future Uganda Agricultural Research Activity is in talks with the Uganda Fruits and Vegetable Exporters and Producers Association and Horticultural Exporters Association.

Exporters  touring the Food Biosciences and Agribusiness laboratory where Long-shelf-life banana technology is being developed.

This is in a bid to forge collaboration with private sector to bridge the research-market gap for the export market. In an entry engagement held on 20th September 2021 at Kawanda-National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NARL), 40 banana exporters engaged with NARO’s banana research team to explore potential partnerships for market testing of the long-share-life banana, and establish a platform through which the exporters can input and support improvement of the technology under development.

Speaking on behalf of the Director-NARL, Mr. Kaggwa Abdullah explained that NARO has started commercialisation of its products and is focusing on eight commodities including the banana crop. “We are looking at easing banana export and value addition. The Banana research program is being supported to develop four banana technologies including; long-shelf-life banana, ethanol extracted from corm, resistant starch and fibre extraction”. Mr. Kaggwa said.

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Address

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

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