FARMERS TOLD Burn banana plants afflicted with Fusarium wilt, get paid

THE REGIONAL office of Department of Agriculture (DA) will pay the farmers who would burn banana plants affected with Panama disease.

Melani A. Provido, regional coordinator of high value commercial crops development program of DA XI, said yesterday during the BizForum at Dermpath in SM City Davao that they would offer P500 per affected plant burned by farmers.

“This is the best way to eradicate the disease,” Provido said.

The farmers, she said, should follow the proper protocol when burning the affected banana trees to prevent the spread of the disease, scientifically known as Fusarium wilt.

She clarified that this program is applicable to farmers whose banana farms have 100 plants, while those would more would not be advised to burn them. If there are more plants, they will not be touched. “Instead, we will advise them to do crop shift or plant Fusarium wilt-tolerant varieties (in between the rows),” she said.

Should they do crop shifting, Provido said they will provide free seedlings of crops like cacao and cassava to the qualified beneficiaries. The regional office has 1,000 seedlings of cacao for those who want to do crop shifting.

Tolerant varieties such as Giant Cavendish Tissue-Culture Variants (GCTCV) 219 and 218 are also available. These varieties are being propagated at the research center Bureau of Plant Industry XI in Bago Oshiro, Tugbok District.

Remelyn Recoter, regional director of DA XI, said these varieties were developed with the help of their partners based in Taiwan and were proven to be about 90% resistant to Panama disease. “We will distribute these (varieties) to the farmers,” she said.

DA explained in a press statement that “the GCTCV is said to be sweeter than those of Grande naine and they had significantly higher starch levels (which convert into sugars during ripening), more titratable solids and fewer acids.”

The new variety, Recoter said, could help address the problem on Panama disease which damaged about 3,000 hectares of banana plantations in the region.

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