FHIA Varieties: New and Exciting Banana and Plantains

Banana and plantains are popular staples and fruits enjoyed by many Jamaican household. It is estimated that over ninety percent of all Jamaican family consume this fruit making this crop a very important crop to cultivate in terms of Jamaica’s national food security programme. It is also grown in all parishes particularly in St Mary, Portland, St Thomas Portland and St James.Commertial banana production in Jamaica has been challenged particularly by the occurrence of the Black sigatoka disease (Mycosphaerella fijiensis) .The effective control of this disease has contributed to a very high cost of producing bananas and plantains in Jamaica approximately twenty five percent (25 %).

The Banana Board through The Bodles Agricultural Research station have been growing varieties of bananas and plantains that includes Fundacion Hondureade De Investigacion’ Agricola(FHIA) for some time now. Of particular interest is FHIA 17, FHIA 25 bananas and FHIA 20 plantains.

Attributes of the FHIA Variety includes

· The plants have a very high level of resistance to Black Sigatoka disease

· Vigorous plants with strong root systems making it hardy able to withstand winds of moderate speed

· Large bunch size with weights of 25 to 45 Kg recorded locally

· Tolerance to some species of nematode (Pratylenchus coffeae)

· Tolerance to borer weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus)

· Plants grow well in most soils

The FHIA variety is ideal for the consumers and Agro processers because of the following:

· Green Fruit is easy to peel and oozes very little latex

· Green Fruit has a very good flavour and texture when boiled or fried

· Green Fruit cooks very easily (3 to 5 minutes)

· Harvested Fruit has a green life of approximately ten days

· Partial Harvesting of green hands can be done over approximate two month period while still on the plant excellent for back yard gardens

· Excellent and the ideal fruit for Agro processors (banana chips)

The Banana Board is managing the FHIA Varieties Multiplication and Distribution Programme. The new lines of banana and plantain are more resistant to the dreaded black Sigatoka disease, tolerant to nematode infestation; have lower costs of production than traditional varieties,  25% greater yield, shorter preparation and cooking time and better consumer quality than traditional varieties. The Banana Board will construct certified Nurseries for FHIA Varieties in strategic locations, establish demonstration plots and educate farmers and the public in general about these exiting varieties.  Jamaican farmers will benefit from certified planting materials to be distributed from nurseries in four locations:

· Knockalva Agricultural School, Ramble Hanover

· Orange Agricultural Research Station ,Highgate St Mary

· College of Agriculture Science & Education (CASE) Passley Gardens Portland

· Bodles Agricultural Research Station, Old Habour St Catherine

Farmers can also observe FHIA varieties growing at demonstration plots strategically located at......

· All Nursery locations

· Flamstead Gardens in St James

· Crescent and Gayle  in St Mary

· Toms Hope in Portland

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Contact Information
Banana Board
10 South Ave
Kingston Gardens
Kingston 4, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922-5490
(876) 922-4327
Email: bananaboard@cwjamaica.com

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