Dar es Salaam – 25 October 2013. The production of the East Africa Highland banana, also known as cooking banana and “matoke” in the region is poised to get a boost with the distribution of the first-ever, high-yielding, and disease-resistant hybrid varieties.

The 26 hybrid varieties are a result of over 20 years of joint breeding efforts between the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) of Uganda and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). They are dubbed NARITAs (NARO_IITA).

IITA and NARO recently entered into an agreement to test the hybrids in all the banana growing areas in East Africa in collaboration with the respective national programs and Bioversity International.

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From left to right: 1. Enzirabahima (Matooke), 2. First generation hybrid and 3. Hybrids of first generation hybrid, called NARITA 9