SLU research opens to make the breeding of bananas more efficient
On the 4 of June Michael Batte successfully defended his PhD thesis titled Increasing efficiency of the breeding pipeline for East African highland bananas.
Dr Batte works with IITA in Uganda and his main supervisor was Professor Rodomiro Ortiz from SLU, co-supervised by Dr Helena Persson Hovmalm and Dr Mulatu Geleta.
In his study he looked at innovations to tackle the technical challenges of breeding banana that stem the crop’s low fertility, low seed germination, long selection cycle period, and large space requirement for field evaluation. He also looked at innovations to improve the efficiency of banana breeding programs to quickly deliver to farmers improved banana, which are high yielding and resistant to production constraints to boost their livelihoods. He analyzed the practices that were used for the first 21 years of the banana breeding program of IITA in Uganda.
Michael Batte's studies were sponsored by the Breeding Better Banana project that is led by IITA as part of its capacity building program. The project seeks to strengthen banana breeding programs in Uganda and Tanzania and speed up the development of high-yielding and disease-resistant hybrid varieties of the East Africa Highland banana. The focus is on the two most popular cooking banana in the countries—‘Matooke’ and ‘Mchare’ for Uganda and Tanzania, respectively.