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Davao solon seeks banana research institute to help banana farmers to combat fungal infestation
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Wednesday, 14 December 2011, 09:08 AM
balita.ph: December 13, 2011 12:06 am

DAVAO CITY, Dec. 12 – A lawmaker is seeking the establishment of a banana research institute to address the concerns of banana farmers like the outbreak of a virulent fungus that can bring havoc to the 720-million-dollar banana industry in the country.

Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo Jr., author of House Bill 5478, expressed concern over the recurrence of the uncontrollable spread of Panama disease, also known as fusarium wilt, a dreaded fungus that has already infested several banana plantations in Southern Mindanao.

“Panama disease has been dormant for about 50 years, but a virulent strain has now reappeared in plantations in the Philippines, having spread from Australia to countries in Southeast Asia and Taiwan,” Lagdameo said.
The bill seeks the creation of the National Banana Research Center in the Philippines that will take scientific research and analysis to further develop the banana industry.

Lagdameo urged the government to immediately take action to arrest the spread of fungal infestation as the livelihoods of thousands of banana farmers in the country are at stake.

Lagdameo further explained that the government stands to lose millions of pesos in taxes and fees if the banana industry suffers a slump in production.

“The banana industry is a very important source of income, employment and export earnings in the Philippines. The country’s banana industry provides employment to 240,000 workers and contributes P830 million in taxes to local government units,” he said.

Under the bill, the National Banana Research Center shall be responsible for integrating, collating and supporting studies on the banana industry as well as for intensifying research that may result in developing productive, high yielding good varieties of banana.

The center is also mandated to conduct comprehensive studies and scientific approaches to sustainable banana farming and enhance research on problems associated with the prevention of diseases that infest banana farms in order to lessen risks to health and the environment, among others.

Lagdameo said putting up a banana research institute will address the vital issues on food security and stability of the banana industry. [(PNA) LAP/Anthony S. Allada/ldp]

Source: Davao solon seeks banana research institute to help banana farmers to combat fungal infestation
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