Farmers’ preferences for East African highland cooking banana ’Matooke’ hybrids and local cultivars
  • Papers
Publication Year : 2023

Author(s) : Noel A. Madalla , Rony Swennen, Allan Brown, Sebastien Carpentier, Inge Van den Bergh,Rhiannon Crich



An understanding of farmers’ preferences of new banana cultivars and their characteristics is critical for developing and selecting cultivars that meet consumer needs. Therefore, phenotypic selection in a genetically variable population remains an important aspect of plant breeding.


The participatory varietal selection approach for preference ranking was used on 31 ’Matooke’ secondary and primary triploid hybrids and local banana cultivars evaluated between 2016 and 2019 in Uganda and Tanzania to investigate how farmers’ preference attributes could help breeders identify superior cultivars. The quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The qualitative data from farmers’ focus group discussions (FGDs) were described using content analysis. The Mann–Whitney U test and Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test were used to confrm the diference in farmers’ preferences between groups.


Farmers’ approaches for defning characteristics were multivariate, and their preferences varied by site and country. Large fruit, a large bunch, market acceptability of the banana bunch, a sturdy stem, and an attractive appearance of the banana plant were the characteristics most preferred by farmers in Tanzania and Uganda. Tanzanian farmers preferred large bunches over other characteristics like bunch marketability and robust stem. Large fruit, drought tolerance, a strong stem, and phenotypic similarity to local cultivars were prioritized by Ugandan farmers. Both men and women farmers were more concerned with production-related characteristics, but the former valued marketingrelated characteristics more, while the latter preferred use-related characteristics. Their preferences did not difer statistically, but the relative importance assigned by each group to the selected attributes was diferent.


Farmers’ varietal preferences are frequently based on some assumed requirements, resulting in cultivar rejection or non-adoption. Therefore, determining the value attributed to each characteristic by various farmer groups is crucial in developing ’Matooke’ banana cultivars with desired attributes that will boost the rate of adoption onfarms. Breeding initiatives that establish a system of integrated approaches and rely on thorough diagnosis of both production and consumption characteristics will best serve farmers’ diverse preferences. To accomplish this, planning