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 Information officers will be tapped to intensify information campaign on banana fusarium wilt.

Department of Agriculture in Region 11  gathered the information officers in Davao region for a  “Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Intensified Communications Campaign on Management and Control of Banana Fusarium Wilt in Davao Region” held in Tagum City recently.

Information officers from Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley Province participated in the three-day workshop intended to orient them on DA 11’s interventions against the dreaded banana fusarium disease.

Noel Provido, chief information officer said like any diseases, accurate and timely information is crucial as management strategies such as quarantine and eradication protocols including other interventions must be clearly communicated on the ground.

Provido also stressed that DA have laid packages of assistance for the farmers to manage and control fusarium disease.  These include assistance for eradication, use of use of tolerant varieties (GCTCV 218/219), crop shifting, and use of trichoderma as biological control.

 “The role of information officers is to communicate to farmers the range of available options such that farmers’ decision is based on informed choice and not something that is dictated upon by anybody else,” said.

The workshop has established the information network and core of advocates to beef up DA 11’s information campaign and harmonize and mainstream it with the existing communications program of the local government units.

The workshop would also lead to the creation of a communication plan to further address the spread of Fusarium wilt and will be drafted for implementation by the participants.

DA 11’s Science Research Specialist Vergilio Guttierez said disease is a major threat to country’s major dollar earning industry since it is the major fruit commodity in the country.

“Banana has high demand both in local and foreign markets so we need to seriously address the spreading of this disease,” Guttierez stressed.

Currently, Davao region has a total of 701,480 mats or 350.74 hectares infected from Fusarium wilt. It is composed of the different banana varieties such as Cavendish, Saba/Cardaba, Lakatan and Latundan.