ARUSHA:- The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) on Thursday announced 16 new banana varieties, which are resilient to drought and diseases, billed to revolutionize the crop in the east African nation. Daud Mbongo, a researcher from Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) of Uyole center in south-western Tanzania’s region of Mbeya, said that the banana varieties were developed by local researchers in three banana-producing regions of Mbeya, Kilimanjaro and Kagera.

He confirmed that the trait of the 16 varieties is high productivity compared to traditional varieties being planted in various parts of the country.

“The varieties have proved to be resilient to banana diseases and can grow in difficult weather conditions,” he said, when briefing journalists in Mbeya Region.

Ashraf Mgenzi, a researcher from TARI-Maruku centre in western Tanzania’s region of Kagera, said the study took place in the three research farms owned by TARI in the three predominantly banana-producing regions.

“We have eaten the bananas here to feel the taste; it’s great,” he said.

Tulole Bucheyeki, Director of TARI-Uyole centre, described the new varieties as a huge relief to farmers because of proven increased yields and resistance to disease and dry weather.