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Lacson backs the establishment of a banana research facility.

Given the issues, the banana sector faces, particularly the Fusarium wilt or Panama disease, presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson said Friday he would support the development of banana research laboratories and the reform of the industry’s marketing system.

“I usually add (money) for research and development whenever there is a budget decision.” Do you realize that only 0.4 percent of the budget was set up for research and development, although the optimum is 2 percent?” In an interview on the margins of their sortie at the city gymnasium here, Lacson stated.

He stated that the country has many native talents, scientists, and researchers, but that they are underfunded.

Lacson stated, “Again, research and development should be funded.”

According to data received by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) from the Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 (Davao area), the Fusarium wilt has impacted 16,743.26 hectares of banana crops in the province as of 2021.

In an interview with PNA, Merriel Aglibot Bernardo, DA-11 high-value crops development program coordinator, said, “We expect the figure to continue to climb because there is an ongoing validation of various local government units in the province.”

Davao del Norte is a key contributor to the region’s banana industry. Its current output, both for domestic and export markets, provides profitable business prospects throughout the banana value chain.

Bernardo stated that the proposal to establish a new research facility would be extremely beneficial to banana producers not only in the region but throughout the country.

“It’s quite beneficial.” We are a leading banana grower, and there is a need to solve industry issues,” she said.

Fusarium wilt, according to former agricultural secretary Emmanuel Piol, is the quiet killer of the banana sector in Davao del Norte.

“We established the Banana Industry Development Council when I was Secretary of Agriculture to address the concerns of banana growers,” he stated.

Fusarium wilt is a fungus that is attracted to banana plants. It is a soil-borne pathogen. It has a 30-year to 50-year dormancy period.

Fusarium fungi obstruct the vascular system of plants, depriving them of essential minerals, nutrients, and moisture, causing them to turn yellow and eventually die.

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