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Focus on... African banana - on an upward curve

The most popular fruit in the world, the banana stands out from other fruits for a multitude of reasons, not least its unusual curvaceous shape. Packed with nutrients, banana was one of the earliest plants to be cultivated and has been farmed for over 7,000 years. The fruit is also traded in greater quantities than any other fruit - US$5 billion annually. And, in developing countries, banana is the fourth most valued food after rice, wheat and milk.

But bananas have much more to give. In Uganda, for example, 10 million tonnes of bananas are produced each year, but up to 40 per cent rots and goes to waste. Few African bananas are sold more than 80km from where they are grown, and only ten per cent of global production ever reaches international markets.

Following on from last edition's Points of view, African bananas - unlocking the potential, we focus on progress being made across Africa to provide clean planting material to farmers, developments in processing and marketing, and the ongoing fight against pests and diseases.

Bananas - beware the bad bunch

Bananas - beware the bad bunch

Interest from the banana multinationals means Africa's banana production is about to receive a boost. But who will benefit, and what can be done to make sure the social and environmental problems associated with long term production in Latin America are avoided?

Date published: January 2009

A new take on 'matooke'

A new take on 'matooke'

Uganda's Presidential Initiative on Banana Industrial Development aims to increase smallholder access to markets and household income through commercial production of banana flour. 'Tooke' flour is already widely available in Uganda, and may soon be targeted at international markets.

Date published: January 2009

Improving the banana 'value chain' in East Africa

Improving the banana 'value chain' in East Africa

Recent efforts to commercialise dessert banana are proving successful in Kenya. Far-reaching reforms of the banana market chain, including the establishment of powerful producer groups, have enabled farmers to increase production and investment.

Date published: January 2009

A ripe time for Somali bananas?

A ripe time for Somali bananas?

The onset of the Somali civil war in the early 1990s saw the decline of its renowned banana industry. Now, with private sector and donor interest, there is a chance that Somalia's once thriving banana export sector may be revived.

Date published: January 2009

Rearing its ugly head - bunchy top disease

Rearing its ugly head - bunchy top disease

Banana bunchy top disease is currently the most devastating pest or disease threat for banana crops in sub-Saharan Africa. A consortium has begun pilot work in Burundi to find workable strategies for disease-control and rehabilitation of banana fields.

Date published: January 2009

TC bananas bear fruit

TC bananas bear fruit

Demand for tissue culture banana has been on the rise as growers look for better quality planting material. However, a lack of trained laboratory staff, quality control, and poor infrastructure, combined with poor soil fertility and lack of credit are concerns that need to be addressed.

Date published: January 2009

From black to green gold in the Niger Delta

From black to green gold in the Niger Delta

A public-private partnership is supporting the development and transfer of disease-resistant cooking bananas to the Niger Delta, to replace plantain varieties which were devastated by a Black Sigatoka epidemic in the mid 1980s.

Date published: January 2009

 

 

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