Introduction and evaluation of improved banana cultivars for agronomic and yield characteristics in Kenya
AbstractBanana (Musa spp.) is one of the most important food and cash crops in Kenya. However, most of the cultivars grown particulary the local ones are low yielders and are thus not very suitable for commercial production. To address this constraint, a study was conducted at Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Thika to evaluate introduced improved cultivars for agronomic and yield characteristics. The study involved six FHIA and four Cavendish type of bananas obtained from Bioversity International. Different growth and yield parameters were
collected for the first, second and third crop cycles. Cultivar SH3436-9 took the longest time to reach the shooting stage, while SH3640 took the shortest time. FHIA 25 took the longest time from shooting stage to
maturity, while FHIA 23 took the shortest time. FHIA 25 had the highest bunch weight in the first and third crop cycles, while FHIA 17 had the highest weight in the second crop cycle. Overall, GCTCV-119 produced the smallest bunch. For finger length, FHIA 21 and FHIA 25 led in the first and second crop cycle, respectively. Cultivars FHIA 17, FHIA 18 and FHIA 25 were identified as the most promising for commercial production, but further evaluation is required in other zones to establish whether this impressive performances would be sustained.