African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6688

Full Length Research Paper

Agronomic performance of provitamin A-rich banana cultivars in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Kamira Muller
  • Kamira Muller
  • Bioversity International, P. O. Box 1222 Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Google Scholar
Simbare Alice
  • Simbare Alice
  • Bioversity International, P. O. Box 1893, Avenue du Japon N055, Bujumbura, Burundi.
  • Google Scholar
Sivirihauma Charles
  • Sivirihauma Charles
  • Department of Crop production, Faculty of Agriculture, Catholic University of Graben, P.O. Box 29, Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Google Scholar
Mpoki Shimwela
  • Mpoki Shimwela
  • Agricultural Research Institute-Maruku, P. O. Box 127, Bukoba, Tanzania.
  • Google Scholar
Nabuuma Deborah
  • Nabuuma Deborah
  • Bioversity International, P. O. Box 24384, Plot 106, Katalima Road, Naguru, Kampala, Uganda.
  • Google Scholar
Ekesa Beatrice
  • Ekesa Beatrice
  • Bioversity International, P. O. Box 24384, Plot 106, Katalima Road, Naguru, Kampala, Uganda.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 06 June 2021
  •  Accepted: 22 July 2021
  •  Published: 30 September 2021

Abstract

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major global health issue, contributing to morbidity and mortality. East and Central Africa face VAD prevalence that exceeds the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold of 15%. In Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), VAD prevalence is greater than 43% in rural communities. Promoting vitamin A-rich foods (including banana) is an effective and sustainable strategy to address VAD in poor rural communities. Supported principally by HarvestPlus over more than a decade, banana researchers have been evaluating the performance of high provitaminA banana cultivars to address this challenge. This study evaluated the agronomic performance of six provitamin A-rich banana cultivars originally from outside Burundi and Eastern DRC. Growth and yield parameters were collected for the first, second and third crop cycles. Results revealed that growth and yield parameters were significantly affected by the interaction between sites and cultivars (P<0.05). Banana cultivar yield was also influenced by the combined effect of bunch weight and crop cycle duration. The most promising cultivars in terms of yield were ‘Apantu-AAB’, ‘Lahi-AAB’, ‘Lai- AA’, ‘Bira-AAB’ and ‘Pelipita-ABB’ across all sites and crop cycles. This indicates that although ecological factors could have influenced their performances over sites, genotype could be the most important influencing factor. These evaluations provide hard evidence of the high potential for adoption of the most promising cultivars by the local community members to boost (pro) vitamin A consumption and effectively eliminate VAD.

Key words: Agronomic performance, vitamin A rich banana, crop cycle, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo.