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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 879: IV International Symposium on Banana: International Conference on Banana and Plantain in Africa: Harnessing International Partnerships to Increase Research Impact

AN INNOVATION CAPACITY ANALYSIS TO IDENTIFY STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING PLANTAIN AND BANANA (MUSA SPP.) PRODUCTIVITY AND VALUE ADDITION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Authors:   P. Mobambo, C. Staver, S. Hauser, B. Dheda, G. Vangu
Keywords:   Musa sector, multi-stakeholder, productivity
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.879.90
Abstract:
The agricultural sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to suffer from declining productivity after a decade of civil unrest and underinvestment. Plantain and banana (Musa spp.) are considered the second most important staple crop after cassava (Manihot esculenta). The Congo basin is a secondary centre of plantain diversity in the world. The area planted with plantain/banana declined from over 400,000 ha in the early 90s to less than 150,000 ha presently. Yields are low and declining and plantain become too expensive for poor urban households. There are numerous political, economic, social and technological constraints to increase the contribution of banana and plantain to household, community and the national economy. A number of priorities for action were identified: (a) simple and low cost strategies to estimate production and planted areas and the extent of serious pest and disease threats to guide investment in areas with the greatest impact; (b) mapping of production potential based on soils, climate and water sources and ease of market access to prioritize investment in intensification; (c) piloting of clean seed systems to contain the spread and impact of Banana bunchy top virus, and Xanthomonas wilt, to multiply highly productive clones of preferred cultivars and to conserve plantain diversity; (d) technology for land productivity stabilization and improvement, depending on access to infrastructure and natural resource quality; (e) improving field access to information on new technologies to farmers and their associations, public extension and non-governmental organizations and rural school teachers; and (f) farmer and village marketing organizations to capture greater value from plantain and banana markets where clean seed and improved land productivity are piloted.

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