Agronomic and organoleptic performance of organically produced provitamin A rich bananas for introduction into farming and diet systems of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo
Bananas form a major part of the diet systems of populations in Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). With the high under-five vitamin A deficiency (VAD), >43% in these countries, diversification of banana with focus on incorporating provitamin A carotenoids (pVACs)-rich bananas within farming and diet systems of rural populations is a promising strategy to addressing VAD. This study evaluated the agronomic and organoleptic performance of six pVACs-rich banana cultivars originally from outside Burundi and DRC. Six trial sites were purposively selected based on different agroecological zoning, each had 8 pVACs-rich bananas alongside local cultivars of a similar genomic group. Production involved the use of on-farm manure and organic plant mulching materials. For agronomy, data were collected on standard yield variables over three cropping cycles. For organoleptic evaluation, 450 panelists drawn from target communities and appropriately trained, tested and rated banana products using a 5-point hedonic scale. Results revealed that growth and yield parameters were significantly affected by the interaction between sites and cultivars (P<0.05), crop cycle number and duration. The most promising cultivars in terms of yield were Apantu-AAB, Lahi-AAB, Lai-AA, Bira-AAB and Pelipita-ABB across all sites and crop cycles. In all three sites and for all cultivars, there was a significant correlation between the scores for texture in the mouth, taste and scores for overall acceptability. The most preferred banana cultivars organoleptically were Apantu, Bira, Lahi, Pelipita and Too. Results show a similarity between the agronomically and organoleptically viable banana cultivars except Too, where, despite the deep orange pulp colour, sweet taste and short growth cycle, the bunch was significantly small compared to local cultivars. These evaluations provide evidence of the high potential for adoption of the most promising cultivars by the local community members to boost (pro) vitamin A consumption.
Ekesa, B., Simbare, A., Kamira, M., Sivirihauma, C., Shimwela, M. and Nabuuma, D. (2023). Agronomic and organoleptic performance of organically produced provitamin A rich bananas for introduction into farming and diet systems of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. Acta Hortic. 1367, 319-330
agronomic quality, banana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, organoleptic quality, provitamin A carotenoids