THE UniTeam has assured residents of Davao del Norte that among its top priorities is the creation of Banana Research and Development Center to maintain the country’s top position in the global trade and also wipe out banana fungus known as Panama disease or fusarium wilt that has been a problem in the province for several years now.
In a recent dialogue with local officials of Davao del Norte headed by Gov. Roy Catalan, Vice Gov. Oyo Uy, and Rep. Antonio Lagdameo of Davao del Norte 2nd District, presidential aspirant Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. was asked by local officials how he can help the banana industry in the province.
“We will push for a Banana Research Institute. Dapat maglagay ng pondo for research para sa management at pagpapataas ng ani ng mga nagtatanim ng saging,” Marcos said adding that the research is not only to combat fusarium wilt but shall also study other varieties of banana to increase production.
“Yung mga variety masyado ng behind time. Lahat ng crops natin behind na tayo because of the climate change. Ibang-iba na talaga ‘yung weather. Kaya importante ang mga research institute,” he added.
Marcos said the research center will also help maintain the country’s top position in global trade as it can develop new varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases.
Based on research, some P500 million will be needed to establish a research institute that is essential in providing scientific, technical, and environment-friendly technologies and processes to promote the development of the industry from pre-production to post-harvest and from farm-to-market.
The local officials told Marcos that they have been looking forward for the creation of the research institute, saying the banana disease is seriously affecting the industry in their province.
“Banana industry is a billion dollar industry. Problema is more than half is wiped out dahil sa sakit. Ang market natin kinakain ng Vietnam, Sri Lanka and other regions,” Gov. Catalan said.
Currently, the country is getting seedlings from Taiwan and conducting shared information and practices from the said nation, which has its own research institute.
“’Yung sa research and development talaga it should have government involvement and dapat with partnership as agricultural college o UPLB. Sila naman ang premier agricultural college natin and of course ‘yung private sector,” Marcos noted.
He also assured the local officials that the UniTeam will focus its government platform on agriculture.
“I don’t understand kung bakit napabayaan ang agriculture. It’s the foundation of the economy. Base sa pagkakaalam ko walang bansa na makakapag-industrialize kung hindi nakapag-land reform,” he explained.
“Pangalawa, walang intensive agriculture. Dapat highly mechanized tapos kumpleto ang ating post-harvest (facilities). Kumpleto ang ating processing. All of those things alam nating lahat ‘yun e.
Hindi lang natin nagagawa. For whatever reason, hindi natin naging priority,” he stressed.