Banana growers thanks GMA’s lifting of banana hectarage limit

Jul. 20, 2009

DAVAO CITY — The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) of Davao City has expressed their gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for expanding the number of hectares dedicated to banana plantations.

Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 807 voiding the long-standing Letter of Instruction No. 58 issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos which then set the allowable area for commercial banana plantation at 27,000 hectares.

PBGEA president Steve Antig said the Presidential directive and the continued use of aerial spray to control banana plant diseases will make Philippine bananas more competitive in the world market.

Antig also defended criticisms against the use of aerial spray, saying it is still the best method in controlling banana plant diseases such as bunchy top virus and ‘sigatoka’, which prevents the plant from maturing properly.

“If we discontinue the use of aerial spray, the quality of our bananas will be affected and we will not be able to compete in the world market. This could result in the downfall of the local banana industry,” he said.

Antig said the responsible use of aerial spraying to control banana plant diseases is being practiced in most banana-exporting countries.

At present, Antig said their aerial spray consist of 85 percent water, 14 percent banana oil and only one percent of fungicide. (PR/PBGEA)

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