More farmers in Cagayan trained to manage Banana Bunchy Top Disease

Banana farmers in Cagayan Valley continue to receive support in managing banana bunchy top disease (BBTD) through a program monitored by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Implemented by the Cagayan State University (CSU), the program hopes to rehabilitate the banana industry in Cagayan Valley by enhancing the banana supply chain in the region from production to marketing.

Program Leader Dr. Ricardo B. Casauay of CSU reported the accomplishments of the program, which targets to determine the occurrence and distribution of BBTD, and to improve the productivity of ‘Lakatan’ and ‘Saba’ banana cultivars.

According to Dr. Casauay, the program briefed 795 farmers about the symptoms and occurrence of BBTD and trained 704 farmers on BBTD identification and management in selected areas of Cagayan, Isabela, and Quirino. They also mapped 322 hectares of banana farms to determine areas with BBTD incidence.

To raise more awareness on the symptoms of BBTD, the program also produced a flyer titled, “Panangilasin kadagiti Sintomas ti Sakit ti Saba: A Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD)” (Identifying the Symptoms of the Disease of Saba: A BBTD).

Moreover, the program established 8 demonstration farms that adopted the recommended package of technology (POT) for banana, which includes use of tissue-cultured plantlets, fungicide and insecticide application for disease and insect pest control, respectively, cultural management practices like sanitation and fertilization based on soil analyses.

Four rehabilitation sites were subjected to intervention practices such as weeding, de-leafing, de-suckering, mat sanitation, and fertilization in selected municipalities in Cagayan; while 10 demonstration sites employed weeding and application of pesticide and fertilizer.

The program was evaluated in an annual review attended by the CSU program team, DOST Special Projects Division (SPD) staff Simon Hildawa; Crops Research Division (CRD) Officer-in-Charge Allan B. Siano, ISP Manager for Banana Maria Adelia C. Belen, and CRD key staff members. Dr. Fe M. Dela Cueva, director of the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, led the Technical Review and Evaluation Panel (TREP).