DAVAO CITY – The infection by fusarium wilt, popularly known as Panama disease, and the creation of a banana research center, would be major discussion issues in the coming Banana Congress this year, a banana industry leader said.
Ireneo Dalayon, chief executive officer of the Federation of Cooperatives in Mindanao (FEDCO) and PhilExport trustee said infestation lately may not be rapid as that of the other banana-growing countries, but some farms have sustained losses, including the wipe out of their banana plants.
The problem has persisted for the last 12 years now in the Philippines, although the infection has been reported as early as the middle of the last century.
“The wish of farmers is to finally solve the problem,” Dalayon said.
The creation of a national banana research center would also be presented by the congress as a major demand of the banana industry. The center would serve as venue for discussions of current and recurring problems in the industry.
“We need help from the national government for this, so that we can combat fusarium,” he said.
The Banana Congress will be held on October 6-7, at the SMX Convention Center. The event’s partners include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Mindanao Development Authority, and the local government of Davao City.
It will feature plenary session tracts on the local banana industry roadmap, challenges on the Cavendish banana industry, global good agricultural practices on bananas, and advanced technologies on banana disease control and management.
The congress will also offer free educational sessions for the delegates.
Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol will be the keynote speaker on the opening day.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who Dalayon said has always been present during the previous Banana Congress, is invited as the “most honored speaker” for the event.
The objectives of the congress are: to gather and government and private sector policy makers, business people, technocrats, farmers, and other stakeholders to discuss solution-driven initiatives in order to address every challenge that affects this major dollar-earning industry; to share with the participants information on best practices in pests and disease management, value chain development, technology updates, maximizing benefits from trade and tariff agreements and market standard compliance, among others; to provide industry players opportunity to strengthen its industry base towards unification of purpose and program implementation that would benefit every stakeholder thereby achieving sustainability and global competitiveness.(davaotoday. com)