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Gates Foundation funds Tanzania and Uganda banana production research

The two East African countries of Uganda and Tanzania have received 5.7 million dollar through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money is intended to fund a four-year banana research project. The integrated crop management system is to run from 2016 to 2020 with the aim of scaling up banana productivity in East Africa.

Integrated Crop Management is a method of farming that balances the requirements of running a profitable business with environmental responsibility. It includes practices that avoid waste, enhance energy efficiency and minimise pollution.

According to an article in the Journal du Cameroun, once the project is successful, it will reduce the banana yield gap through supporting productivity in the two countries. Over 100 million people in East and Central Africa depend on bananas for food and income. They are often smallholder farmers, most of whom own less than 0.5 hectares of land. 

With the annual production worth 4.3 billion US dollars, bananas contribute 5% of the entire ECA region’s GDP. In Uganda alone, over 10 million tonnes of Matooke are produced annually, making Uganda the world’s second largest banana producer after Cavendish in India.

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