Agronomic performances of local and exotic Musa species were evaluated across seven agro-ecologies in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Generally, all the cultivars performed well. Mean bunch yields varied between 11 and 42 kg across different use groups and agro-ecologies. Introduced cultivars had higher or comparable yields to the local cultivars across agro-ecologies. The exotic beer cultivar ‘NARI 27’ generally outperformed other beer types. The green cooking exotic types ‘NARITA 4’ and ‘NARITA 2’ produced bunches of up to 37 and 39 kg, respectively at altitudes of 1066 and 1111 m, though having smaller bunches of 21 to 25 kg, at 900 and 1707 m in comparison to the local type ‘Barhabeshya’ (30 to 37 kg). Yields were mainly influenced by soil factors and altitude. Yields generally increased with increase in OM, N, P, K, Ca, and pH. Altitude had a non-linear relationship with the time from planting to flowering, with the time from planting to flowering declining at higher altitudes. In contrast, the fruit filling phase increased linearly with altitude. Bunch weights of most cultivars declined with increasing altitude; particularly, when N, K, P and OM concentrations were low; possibly because most assimilates go towards sucker development at the high altitudes. For example, bunch weights of ‘Barhabeshya’, ‘Mbwazirume’ and ‘Nshika’ strongly declined (R2 = -0.56-0.99) with increasing altitude. ‘Ndundu’, ‘FHIA21’ and ‘Gros Michel’ thrived well at high altitude sites. Such variations in cultivar adaptability plus cultivar attributes, e.g. height can be exploited by selectively promoting cultivars in specific agro-ecologies/niches.
Key word: Agro-ecologies, cultivar, fruit filling phase, Kivu provinces, plantain cultivar, yield.
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