Musa collection and characterization work in central and eastern DR-Congo: a chronological overview uri icon


  • Musa collection and characterisation has been ongoing in central and eastern DR Congo since the mid 1950s. This paper reports on the history of these collection missions and focuses on recent efforts to collect, establish and describe the germplasm from this important region of Musa diversification. Plantains (AAB) were mainly collected in the Oriental Province, while East African highland bananas (AAA, EAHB) were collected in both South and North Kivu. Since 2005, 65 plantains were established in a field collection at UNIKIS, Kisangani and characterisation work is ongoing. These plantains comprise some interesting dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars which are not present in West Africa. In addition, 196 cultivars were established in three Musa collections (one for the highland types at Butembo, North Kivu at 1840 m.a.s.l.; one for the plantains at Mavivi, North Kivu at 1062 m.a.s.l., and one for the South Kivu genotypes at INERA Mulungu, South Kivu at 1707 m.a.s.l.). Information on all the collected genotypes in DR Congo will be entered in the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) database. Many new accessions represent plantains adapted to higher altitudes which have hardly been explored hitherto. These plantains should be ecotypes of which genetic studies could strengthen breeding efficiency. Many plantain phenotypes are unique to the African continent and hence nonexistent in Asia (not even in South India, where e.g. the rather drought-tolerant False Horn plantains are completely missing). Plantain fruits being rich in vitamin A precursors, their introduction in Asia should considerably broaden the organoleptic diversity for cooking bananas

publication date

  • 2011