Banana is an important source of food and income for millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and Uganda in particular. This makes it one of the most important food crops in the country. However, production is limited by both biotic and abiotic constraints. Among the biotic constraints, is the decline in soil fertility. In addressing some of these biotic and abiotic constraints, banana breeding programmes are developing and releasing new banana varieties with limited information of their efficiency to capture soil nutrients. This study was to establish the physiological nutrient use efficiency of three new banana varieties namely FHIA17, M9 and M2 at harvesting time. The study was carried out in 8 (eight) districts of Uganda. Soil and tissue samples were collected from already established banana plantations for analysis of N, P, K, Ca and Mg. Tissue samples were collected by destructive sampling. Means of nutrients within district were separated using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) test at 5% level of significance (SAS, 2008). The nutritional status of bananas and the concentrations in various organs were, with respect to N, P, K, Ca and Mg, levels subjected to ANOVA. The relationship between plant content of the five nutrients and their concentration in the soil was determined by coefficient of correlation (r). The results showed no major significant nutrient use efficiencies between cultivars with FHIA 17 having the highest nutrient use efficiency. There were a few positive correlations between soil and plant nutrients.
Key words: Nutrient concentrations, Banana cultivars, destructive sampling, nutrient interactions.
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