Group seeks study on prevalence of fusarium wilt outside Region 11

THE SOUTHERN Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consorium (Smaarrdec) will expand the study in combating fusarium wilt outside the region.

Dr. Reynilo D. Garcia, deputy director of Smaarrdec, said the study, which started in April 2012, is among the flagship projects of the consortium, a body composed of 23 government agencies and state universities and colleges in the region.

“This is to determine how to control the spread of the disease in Cavendish bananas,” Garcia told the reporters yesterday in an interview at the center’s office in University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP).

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (Pcaarrd), allocated P34 million for the conduct of the study, which ended in March.

Sheryl S. Bayang, former research assistant of DOST-Pcaarrd funded fusarium wilt program, said they are currently proposing additional funding to expand the conduct of the study.

This, she said, is planned to be conducted in areas like Bukidnon, Ozamiz in Misamis Occidental and Region XII, where there were also incidence of banana plantations that were affected with fusarium wilt.

The study has three components such as the conduct of adaptability trial of giant Cavendish tissue-culture variant (GCTCV) sumaclones against Panama disease; development of biological control strategies and assessment of fusarium wilt incidence in Mindanao.

In Davao Region, the Department of Agriculture recorded that there were about 15,700 hectares that were affected with Panama disease.

To determine what variants and biological control strategies should be in place to combat against the disease, Bayang said they initiated a field trial in two-hectare fusarium wilt infested banana plantations in Nabunturan and Monkayo in Compostela Valley.

Based on their study, she said the GCTCV 218 and 219 were found to be resistant varieties against disease. The biological control agents such as trichoderma harzianum and mykovam, she said, were also found to resist against FocTR4, the damaging pathogen of the disease.

“We are planning to conduct the second phase of our study to have validation of the results,” Bayang said.

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