On Saint Lucia, the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), combined with the Banana Productivity Improvement Project (BPIP), introduced a new dwarf variety of Taiwanese banana ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ in 2019. Their aim was to overcome the global climate change and enhance the income of the banana industry.
These bananas were planted at six demonstration farms as Fond Estate, Union, Ranju Lands, Roseau, Troumasse and Woodlands in Saint Lucia. The ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ has now produced its first harvest in January 2020.
The Taiwan Technical Mission will compare the fruit yield, quality, and the taste preferred by consumers between ‘Tai-Chiao No.2’ and the local banana variety. With this survey, TTM and BPIP hope to find a more suitable banana variety for farmers that will benefit the local banana industry.
The farmers used to propagate the bananas through conventional planting material without replacing the new seedlings for several years in Saint Lucia. However, the banana plants keep growing taller and higher and it becomes more difficult for farmers to maintain the good practices of banana cultivation. It also becomes hard to control the plant disease and insect pressure in the banana field. Moreover, the banana trees were more easily damaged by strong winds and torrential rains.
This traditional method of banana breeding would decrease the quantity of bananas required to export to the EU market. Although some farmers traditionally used the rope to physically restrict the height of the banana plant, the effect was limited.