Maintenance of the Banana and Plantain Germplasm (gene bank) Collection at Bodles Banana Breeding Station

There are more than 150 varieties of banana and plantain that are being maintained by the Banana Board in the gene bank at the Bodles Breeding Research Banana Station.  Among them are varieties developed locally and overseas, as well those collected from various parts of the tropics and sub-tropics where bananas had originated, evolved, and were transported and to be grown commercially or for subsistence. Not all varieties in the collection are of commercial value but they each have specific genetic capabilities that can be inculcated into commercial varieties to solve issues such as disease susceptibility or other less desirable marketability.

Common banana varieties which are traditionally cultivated in Jamaica include:


Williams (Ziv)

Grand Nain


Gros Michel

Silk (Chinese, Apple and Thousand Fingers)

Banana varieties developed or endemic to Jamaica include:

RG1 (developed by Ren Gonsalves)

Tetraploid 1242 (developed by Dr. Ken Shephard)

Tetraploid 6812 (developed by Dr. Ken Shephard)

Highgate variety

Plantains grown by Jamaicans include:

Horse plantain

French plantain

Saba plantains

Bluggoe (Frog plantains)

One Planty (One Hand Bandit)

Tiger Plantain

Varieties that are resistant or tolerant to Black Sigatoka disease and nematode pest infestation, and are more desirable (than traditional varieties) to increase cost effectiveness in the Jamaican Banana Industry. The banana and plantains have 30-50% greater yield than traditional varieties and were developed by Dr. Phil Rowe in Honduras. They are being multiplied for distribution to domestic market producers in Jamaica. The varieties, to be used to develop the value-added industry, are being made available with European Union funding. The varieties are:

FHIA 17 banana

FHIA 25 banana

FHIA 20 plantain





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Banana Board
10 South Ave
Kingston Gardens
Kingston 4, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922-5490
(876) 922-4327

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