Tuesday March 18 2014

Farmers assured of markets for banana

By Herbert Mugagga

A senior research has assured banana farmers in western Uganda over the lack of market for the high yielding banana variety known as FHIA 17, commonly called Kawanda.

Prof Wilberforce Tumushemerirwe, the director of research, National Agricultural Research Laboratories Kawanda, said this type of banana has a very high demand in many parts of the country and internationally, so those farmers should not lose hope.

“The Honduras-developed banana species has good market in Kenya and Southn Sudan and when you go to Masindi and Luweero, customers book them when still in the garden because of the high demand,’’ he elaborated. This was during a bi-annual review and planning meeting of National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro), held March 12 in Mukono.

Assured demand
Prof Tumushemerirwe encouraged farmers to grow more of the banana variety, adding that it is a question of time for the demand for them to increase.
He also dismissed as untrue the reports by some farmers that this banana, offers unfair competition for nutrients with other crops grown on the same land.

He said because of their huge stems, which are consonant with their yield, farmers tend to think that it consumes most of the nutrients in the soil.
“FHIA derive their carbohydrates from carbon dioxide in the air, and largely depend on rain water from the soil, so it is not true that it sucks nutrients out from the soil’’.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Dr Ambrose Agona, the executive director, Naro, disclosed that efforts towards controlling the notorious banana bacterial wilt in western Uganda, are yielding fruit as indications are that with the prevalence levels are coming down.