Head of IITA’s banana breeding program receives dedicated scientist award at the International Banana Conference

24 March 2020

The Head of IITA’s banana breeding program, Rony Swennen received the “Dedicated Scientist Award for his exemplary commitment to Banana research” during an International Conference on Banana held in Trichy, India on 22–25 February 2020.

Swennen also gave the first keynote presentation of the conference on “Breeding plantain and cooking banana (Matooke and Mchare) hybrids for Africa utilizing approaches of global relevance.’” The paper’s co-authors were IITA scientists: Delphine Amah, Brigitte Uwimana, Trushar Shah, Batte Michael, Hassan Mduma, George Mahuku, and Allan Brown.

Head of IITA’s banana breeding program receives dedicated scientist award at the international banana conference
Rony Swennen receiving the award.

Other IITA scientists who participated and presented at the conference included Leena Tripathi, Plant Biotechnologist based in IITA-Kenya, who presented on “Application of transgenic and genome editing technologies for improving banana wilt disease” and Brigitte Uwimana, Banana Molecular Breeder based in IITA-Uganda, who presented on “Molecular approaches in banana improvement: Success of ‘Breeding Better Bananas’”.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) organized the conference, in conjunction with the National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB) and Bioversity International, with the theme: Innovations in Sustainable Production and Value Chain Management in Banana.

The conference provided a forum for banana researchers, policymakers, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the opportunities, challenges, and threats faced by the banana industry and develop mitigating strategies, identify research gaps, and provide solutions.

Another objective of the conference was to pave the way for inter-institutional germplasm exchange and collaborative research programs on banana improvement, production and protection; and to provide a platform for students, aspiring scientists, and entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experiences; and help to establish linkages and partnerships in research and business.

IITA’s banana program has, over the past 30 years, focused on the delivery of high yielding hybrids of plantain, Matooke and Mchare bananas, for food and income security, especially of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Related publications on the IITA banana breeding program
Research Collaboration Stimulates Plantain Cultivation in Burkina Faso, http://www.coraf.org/2019/06/12/research-collaboration-stimulates-plantain-cultivation-in-burkina-faso/

Promising High-Yielding Tetraploid Plantain-Bred Hybrids in West Africa, http://www.coraf.org/2019/04/29/just-out-promising-high-yielding-tetraploid-plantain-bred-hybrids-in-west-africa/

NIHORT evaluates IITA plantain hybrids for possible distribution to farmers http://bulletin.iita.org/index.php/2020/03/16/nihort-evaluates-iita-plantain-hybrids-for-possible-distribution-to-farmers/

Promising High-Yielding Tetraploid Plantain-Bred Hybrids in West Africa, https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/3873198

Crossbreeding East African Highland Bananas: Lessons Learnt Relevant to the Botany of the Crop After 21 Years of Genetic Enhancement, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.00081

Bananas and Plantains (Musa spp.) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59819-2_7