Response of banana cultivars to banana weevil attack
East African Highland Bananas (EAHB) (Musa AAA, 'Matooke' group) are a major staple food in the East African region. However, banana weevil (Cosmopolites sorllidus) is a major production constraint to bananas and may cause damage levels of up to 100%. Pesticides can effectively control banana weevil but these are unaffordable by resource poor farmers, besides being environmentally unfriendly. The use of resistant cultivars therefore, may be a safer longterm intervention strategy for banana weevil control. An experiment was conducted to screen all the Musa germ plasm found in Uganda for response to banana weevil, and evaluate levels of susceptibility. Weevil damage levels indicating both peripheral and inner damage were scored at ha rvest and used in two multivariate analyses. Cluster analysis grouped the cultivars into three significantly different groups; resistant, intermediate and susceptible. Most of the East African Highland 'Matooke' cultivars were more homogenous in their response to banana weevil, with most of them falling into the intermediate group. One East African Highland cultivar Nalukira (a bee r type) was grouped among the resistant cultivars while three, N aka were, Namafura, and Ndiibwa balangira, were clustered as susceptible. Principal component analysis revealed almost similar results. Gonja (AAB-plantain) was the most susceptible, while Culcutta-4 (AA-wiJd type) was the most resistant. Culcutta-4 and FHIA-03 (AABB), which showed high resistance levels may be good sources of resistance genes for genetic improvement of land races for resistance to banana weevil.
Keywords: MusaAAA, Banana weevil, response