With the use of GCTCV 219 (Giant Cavendish tissue-culture variant), banana growers in Davao region has a better alternative to resist Fusarium Wilt or Panama Disease.

The GCTCV is said to be sweeter than those of Grande naine and they had significantly higher starch levels (which convert into sugars during ripening), more titratable solids and fewer acids.

During the Joint First Field Day of GCTCV 219 held in Almocera farm in Bagongon, Compostela Valley Province on Tuesday, banana farm owners and growers from Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley Province tackled issues regarding the new variety.

They also aired their willingness to plant more of the variety since its fruit is accepted in the international and in the local market.

Gilton Almocera, research farmer cooperator said that he will be harvesting the first batch of his GCTCV 219 variety in May.

Almocera said that he lost millions with the infestation of Fusarium Wilt in his four hectare banana plantation.

“Our revenues decreased and our expenses for the eradication increased,” he explained.

 “I thank the DA for extending their hands to us, you give the banana farmers and growers hope to rise again,” Almocera said. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Susan Razo, chief of Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 Integrated Laboratories Division (ILD) encouraged the banana growers in Davao Region to submit the necessary documents in order to acquire the tissue-cultured seedlings.

“After the completion of the necessary documents, the beneficiaries will undergo training on how to grow the GCTCV 219 variety,” Razo said, adding that, “after the training the farmer cooperators will also impart their knowledge to those who can avail the seedlings.”

This year, DA 11 has allotted a total of P102 million budget to combat Fusarium Wilt. 

Melani Provido, DA 11 High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) coordinator said in the recent interview that the budget was due to the demand for appropriate interventions on such disease control and management, regulatory measures, and information dissemination. 

“Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala prioritized the program to eradicate if not minimize the spread of the disease,” Provido added.

Fusarium wilt is a destructive fungal disease of banana plants can be described as a “classic” vascular wilt disease and it invades the vascular tissue (xylem) through the roots, causing discoloration and wilting.

It attacks banana plants of all ages and spreads mainly through the soil wherein it causes wilting and yellowing of the leaves.  (Che Palicte DA-11)

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