The complementarity of farmers and botanical descriptors of the East African Highland banana cultivars (Musa, AAA)
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Karamura, D.; Kiggundu, A.; Karamura, E. -2011-The complementarity of farmers and botanical descriptors of the East African Highland banana cultivars (Musa, AAA) -ISHS 897-p. 107-112
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/42418
Internet URL: http://www.actahort.org/books/897/897_10.htm
Farmers in East Africa help shape the degree of genetic diversity in banana landraces. They describe cultivars by names related to one or more traits at various development stages of the plant life cycle, like agronomic performance, uses of plant parts or aesthetics. This allows farmers to categorise diversity using relevant morphological criteria to create a pattern of naming and grouping cultivars. Factors farmers use to describe and name cultivars are interrelated and provide a set of agro-morphological criteria which define a landrace. Not much is known about the structure of farmers' nomenclature of these landraces and its relevance to the botanical descriptors and classification. This paper describes a study which was undertaken in two culturally different banana-growing communities in Uganda, Luwero in mid altitudes and Mbale in high altitudes. The purpose of the study was: (1) to identify the traits farmers use in describing and naming cultivars of East African highland banana; (2) to compare farmers' and botanical descriptors to assess the relationship between the two; and (3) to determine the biological usefulness of the farmers' system. Three methods were used: an informal participatory method to provide preliminary information on descriptors; a quantitative ranking of the results of the participatory method; and multivariate statistics to discover the relationship between the two types of descriptors by comparing the categorisations resulting from the descriptor analysis. Results indicated that the most important farmer descriptors fall into five categories: size and shape, texture, appearance, agronomic and commercial aspects. There was more than 60% correlation between farmers' grouping of cultivars (based on fewer descriptors) and botanical classification (based on many descriptors). In conclusion, farmers' grouping resulting from their descriptors had a biological meaning while the botanical classification reflected the practices of local people.