'FHIA-17' at a glance


Credit: Jeff Daniells
Ploidy level


Genome group



Synthetic hybrid

Breeding institute


Breeder's code



Highgate (AAA, Gros Michel) x SH-3362

ITC code


'FHIA-17' is a Gros Michel type dessert banana developed by FHIA. It has excellent agronomic performance and is considered to be resistant to Mycosphaerella fungi, tolerant to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense and banana weevil and susceptible to Banana bunchy top virus, Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum and the burrowing nematode Radopholus similis.

Local names

'Kabana' (Uganda)

History of cultivation and current distribution

'FHIA-17' was developed by the breeding programme of FHIA and released in 19891 . It has been evaluated against pests and diseases in more than 50 countries.

Morphological characteristics

'FHIA-17' plants grow 3 m to 3.5 m tall under ideal conditions and have a robust cylindrical pseudostem that is light green to green with more or less abundant dark brown blotches, and decumbent leaves{1 2 .  The bunch is cylindrical and the fruit bearing parts hangs horizontal to the general axis of the bunch. The fruits are light green, semi-curved and 21 cm to 25 cm long1 . The ripe fruit is pale yellow and pulp is a cream colour1 . The male flowers remain attached to the bunch rachis, which is thick with deep internodes and has a slight pronounced curvature2 (though plants with a clean rachis have also been observed, Jeff Daniells, pers. comm. 2013).  The petiole channel is open, with erect margins and a purple line on the borders.  The internal and external sides of the petiole channel are reddish2 .

When the fruits are ripe the peel is pale yellow and the pulp is light cream, smooth and creamy. 

Agronomic characteristics

'FHIA-17' has demonstrated excellent agronomic performance in a number of field trials where it usually outperforms all the other cultivars and local landraces used and produces the heaviest bunches, highest number of hands and fruits per bunch, and the highest annual yield3 4 5 6 4 .  'FHIA-17' plants are relatively tall and therefore more prone to wind damage than shorter cultivars (Jeff Daniells, pers. comm. 2013).

Days from planting to flowering: 2701 , 3135 , 401.64 , 5574

Days from flowering to harvest: 1243 , 1525 , 172.94

Days from planting to harvest: 4645 , 564.94 , 7424

Height at shooting (cm): 2074 , 2714 , 3085

Girth at shooting: 484 , 70.74 , 80.65

Functional leaves at shooting: 7.84 , 10.14

Total leaves at shooting: 10.44

Mean bunch weight (kg): 21.56 , 26.724 , 32.13 , 36.032 , 53.45

Number of hands: 101 , 10.84 , 11.86 , 14.25

Total number of fruits: 1701 4 , 2665

Number of fruits on second hand: 176 , 21.65

Finger length (cm): 15.24 , 16.46 , 18.37 , 22.62 , 233

Finger girth (cm): 10.936 , 12.454 , 12.76 , 14.33

Finger weight (g): 1203 , 134.57 , 170  to 2601

Yield (t/ha): 55.7{5

Shelf life (days): 7.63

Reaction to diseases and pests

'FHIA-17' has been distributed to more than 50 countries for agronomic and pest and disease evaluation during the International Musa Testing Programme (IMTP)8 , and Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) trials9 .

Fungal diseases

Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense)

Race 1: 'FHIA-17' has been classified as susceptible but highly tolerant to Foc race 1.  The results of the IMTP 2 show that 'FHIA-17' had above average internal vascular discolouration scores (average of 2.5 across the sites in Brazil, Honduras and the Philippines) but was the best yielding genotype with an average bunch weight of 25.2 kg10 .

Race 4: 'FHIA-17' has been classified as susceptible but highly tolerant to Foc race 4. The results of the IMTP 2 show that 'FHIA-17' had above average internal vascular discolouration scores (average of 2.5 across the sites in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan) but was again the best yielding genotype across all sites with an average bunch weight of 25.2 kg10 .

Sub-tropical race 4 (Foc STR4): 'FHIA-17' has been classified as susceptible to Foc STR4 after more than one third of plants became infected during field evaluation trials in Australia11 .

Black leaf streak (Mycosphaerella fijiensis)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be resistant to Black leaf streak1 .

Sigatoka leaf spot (Mycosphaerella musicola)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be tolerant to Sigatoka leaf spot5

Eumusae leaf spot (Mycosphaerella eumusae)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be resistant to Eumusae leaf spot12 .  Symptoms of plant leaves at 52 days after inoculation with M. eumusae were ‘light brown flecks and an almost inconspicuous collapse of epidermal cells with pale-green ghost spotting’12 .

Bacterial diseases

Xanthomonas wilt (Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be susceptible to Xanthomonas wilt13 .   The average wilt incidence of tissue culture plantlets in in vivo and in vitro tests were 93.3% and 90% respectively.  Between 83-93% of the inoculated plantlets developed chlorosis or necrosis 13-14 days after inoculation, and complete wilting 30-33 days after inoculation13 .

Viral diseases

Bunchy top (Banana bunchy top virus)

'FHIA-17' is susceptible to Bunchy top5 .  During agronomic performance trials of introduced banana varieties in the lowlands of Rwanda, of 20 'FHIA-17' plants over two crop cycles, 15% were affected by Bunchy top5 .


Burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be susceptible to the burrowing nematode R. similis14 15 . In pot trials using both tissue-culture plantlets and corms, 'FHIA-17' was as susceptible to R. similis as the reference cultivar Grande Naine14 . In pot trials using in vitro propagated plantlets, 100 g of fresh 'FHIA-17' roots supported significantly higher number of R. similis than the susceptible reference cultivar Grande Naine and the fresh root weight decreased by 24% compared to uninoculated control plants15 .


Banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus)

'FHIA-17' is considered to be tolerant to the Banana weevil3

Reaction to abiotic stress


Recommendations for cultivation, harvest, post-harvest

FHIA recommends that 'FHIA-17' be cultivated under the following conditions1 :

Altitude: 0 – 1200 m

Rainfall: 2000 mm/year well distributed throughout the year

Temperature: optimum of 28 °C, though is cold-tolerant and able to grow at lower temperatures than the more commonly grown Cavendish varieties

Soil: unflooded, well-drained

Planting density: 1600 plants/ha recommended

Fertilizer inputs: in Honduras, applied 300 kg/year nitrogen (N), 450 kg/year potassium (K)

Pesticide inputs: because FHIA-17 is tolerant/resistant to many of the pests and diseases that affect bananas (see ‘reaction to diseases and pests’ section) it can be grown without the application of pesticides.

Management advice: remove folded leaves and infected tips every two weeks (de-leaf).  Remove young shoots every eight weeks (de-sucker).  Remove and trim the false extra hands to ensure proper development of the fingers (de-bud).

FHIA-17 fruits have a long green life and good packing characteristics under stable environmental conditions. 


'FHIA-17' is a dessert banana that tastes similar to 'Gros Michel', one of its parent cultivars1 , but has softer flesh.  In preliminary evaluations of improved banana varieties in Mozambique 'FHIA-17' ranked last for taste and the fruits were considered to be too short6 .  Of the 200 respondents:

  • 56.3% thought 'FHIA-17' tasted sweet whilst 35.3% thought it tasted neutral
  • 54.5% thought it smelt good whilst 45.5% thought it did not smell good
  • 62.1% thought it was similar to traditional varieties whilst 37.9% thought it was not similar to traditional varieties 
  • 46.8% would continue to consume whilst 53.2% would not continue to consume
  • 21% thought it was highly preferable to traditional varieties, 38.8% thought it was slightly preferable whilst 40.2% thought it was ‘other’
  • 36% thought it was ideal whilst 64% thought it was not ideal.

Nutritional value

'FHIA-17' flour had the following micronutrient content when assessed in Nigeria16 :

  • Iron: 16.135 µg gG1
  • Zinc: 12.490 µg gG1
  • Total carotenoids: 4.150 µg gG1
  • Retinol equivalent (RE) if 500 g of flour is eaten daily: 345.8

(Non-pregnant, non-lactating women between 19-65 years require 50 RE/day; children 1-3 years require 400 RE/day)16 .


2 Alvarez, J.M. and Rosales, F.E. Rosales, F.E. (ed.). 2008. Identification and characterization guide for FHIA banana and plantain hybrids. Bioversity International, Montpellier. 15p.
3 Nowakunda, K., Rubaihayo, P.R., Ameny, M.A. and Tushemereirwe, W. 2000. Consumer acceptability of introduced bananas in Uganda. Infomusa (FRA) 9(2):22-25.
4 Njuguna, J., Nguthi, F., Wepukhulu, S., Wambugu, F., Gitau, D., Karuoya, M. and Karamura, D.A. 2008. Introduction and evaluation of improved banana cultivars for agronomic and yield characteristics in Kenya. African Crop Science Journal 16(1):35-40.
5 Gaidashova, S.V., Karemera, F. and Karamura, E.B. 2008. Agronomic performance of introduced banana varieties in lowlands of Rwanda. African Crop Science Journal 16(1):9-16.
6 Uazire, A.T., Ribeiro, C.M., Bila Mussane, C.R., Pillay, M., Blomme, G., Fraser, C., Staver, C. and Karamura, E.B. 2008. Preliminary evaluation of improved banana varieties in Mozambique. African Crop Science Journal 16(1):17-25.
10 Orjeda, G., Escalant, J. and Moore, N. 1999. The international Musa Testing Programme (IMTP) phase II overview of final report and summary of results. Infomusa (FRA) 8(1):3-10.
11 Moore, N.Y., Pegg, K.G., Smith, L., Langdon, P.W., Bentley, S. and Smith, M.K. 2001. Fusarium wilt of banana in Australia. p.64-75. In: Molina, A.B., Nik Masdek, N.H. and Liew, K.W. (eds.). Proceedings of International Workshop on the Banana Fusarium Wilt Disease, Genting Highlands Resort (MYS), 1999/10/18-20. Banana Fusarium wilt management: Towards sustainable cultivation. INIBAP, Los Banos, Philippines.
12 Sulliman, K.S.S., Pillay, M. and Yasmina, J-F. 2012. Polymorphism at selected defence gene analogs (DGAs) of Musa accessions in Mauritius. African Journal of Biotechnology 11: 11207-11220.
13 Tripathi, L., Odipio, J., Tripathi, J.N. and Tusiime, G. 2008. A rapid technique for screening banana cultivars for resistance to Xanthomonas wilt. European Journal of Plant Pathology 121(1):9-19.
14 Viaene, N., Dueñas, J. and De Waele, D. 1997. Pot screening of Musa genotypes for resistance and tolerance to Radopholus similis and Pratylenchus coffeae. Nematropica 27: 123.
15 Moens, T., Araya, A., Swennen, R. and De Waele, D. 2005. Screening of Musa cultivars for resistance to Helicotylenchus multicinctus, Meloidogyne incognita, Pratylenchus coffeae and Radopholus similis. Australasian Plant Pathology 34(3):299-309.
16 Adeniji, T.A., Sanni, L.O., Barimalaa, I.S. and Hart, A.D. 2006. Determination of micronutrients and colour variability among new plantain and banana hybrids flour. World Journal of Chemistry 1(1):23-27.

See also on this website

Local names for 'FHIA-17' in the cultivar checklist
Musapedia pages on FHIA hybrids:
Musapedia pages on improved materials: