By John Mahusay
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is allotting a total of P262.7 million to bankroll development initiatives and efforts to produce banana varieties resistant to fusarium wilt, enhancing the production of quality bananas for both domestic and export markets.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the department earmarked P100 million of the allotted amount under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) as a counterpart fund to rehabilitate Fusarium wilt-affected banana (Cavendish) areas in Mindanao.
Dar challenged the members of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters (PBGEA) to match the P100-million allotment in carrying out a sustainable research and development (R&D) program to control fusarium wilt and rehabilitate affected areas.
He made the challenge during the group’s virtual 27th Joint Annual General Assembly on September 18, 2020.
“I challenge the PBGEA leadership to also put a counterpart funding for the very research issues that you would like to pursue. I am not going to mention how much you will commit, but we will gladly welcome your share,” said Dar.
The R&D program seeks to ensure the production culture of quality banana and distribute these to farmers to rehabilitate and re-plant disease-damaged farms.