Banana and plantain crop improvement is crucial to IITA’s research mandate. Our work to fight major banana and plantain pests and diseases is producing impressive results and securing one of the continent’s primary food sources. IITA scientists have introduced high-yielding, disease and pest resistant varieties with durable fruit quality. IITA’s R4D effort in Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) is tasked with creating high-yielding banana hybrids by 2019 that can be multiplied for large-scale distribution.
Uganda and Tanzania consume as much as 50% of all bananas in Africa, but only yield 9% due to disease and pests. IITA’s genetic research aims to improve resistance and boost banana yields by 30%. Such tools and strategies enhance the capacity of smallholders throughout sub-Saharan Africa to produce enough banana and plantain to meet demand.