NIHORT to begin evaluation, distribution of new hybrid plantain, banana varieties to farmers

THE National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) will in a short while begin evaluation of Hybrid plantain and banana germplasm for onward distribution to Nigerian farmers.

In collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the evaluation of the new varieties comprising plantain, dessert and cooking banana hybrids, delivered by IITA, is expected to be successful for take-off to farmers.

NIHORT had requested from IITA germplasm to be tested with the understanding that successful evaluations may lead to distribution.

IITA Regional Breeding Manager for plantain and banana germplasm improvement in West and Central Africa, Delphine Amah, said that bilateral relations between NIHORT was well on the cards, as the institute was mandated to research new varieties for plantain and banana in Nigeria.

Speaking during a visit to NIHORT, Amah said, “In the past, there was not much collaboration between IITA and NIHORT on banana and plantain,” while also assuring that the partnership would yield positive results.

She explained that, despite the adverse weather conditions and budgetary constraints, they had shown strong commitment by planting and taking the extra step of installing an irrigation system to supply water to the farm.

Amah further expressed delight at the professionalism and progressiveness exhibited by the NIHORT team exhibited as they had gone ahead to plant the materials and begin the evaluation process immediately after receiving the materials.

In a recent publication in the International Journal of Agronomy, it was stated that despite the economic importance of plantains in the humid lowlands of West and Central Africa, sustainable production is threatened by pathogens and pests.

Against this backdrop, the NIHORT team has said it will maintain the high-yielding disease-resistant plantain and banana hybrids with the aim of multiplying and evaluating with farmers.

Farmers, however, would be eager to see that the evaluation becomes successful, so as to increase their level of productivity.


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