DA-BAR discusses banana macro-propagation and farm mgt in October seminar

“Production of quality banana plantlets is strategic in managing banana diseases,” emphasized Dr. Elbert Sana during the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research’s seminar on 19 October 2023 via StreamYard and DA-BAR’s official Facebook Page.

Focusing on the Nueva Vizcaya State University’s (NVSU) research on banana macropropagation and improved farm management, Sana kicked off the discussion by underscoring banana as a good source of income to the country. However, banana production is faced with two technical constraints that limit  productivity: problems with major banana diseases and low-level technology adoption in smallhold farms (3-5 ha). 

In response to this, NVSU explored banana macro-propagation, backed up by disease indexing, as a means of rapid multiplication of planting materials that farmers can do and manage at the nursery level.

In comparing the quality of bananas under macro-propagation compared to naturally grown bananas, Dr. Sana explained that for the same variety under good farm management, the yield potential for both will be the same. However, macro-propagated plantlets are more advantageous over field grown suckers. They have fast field recovery since they have well established roots system and are hardened in the nursery before transplanting. Also, they have uniform growth and maturity since plantlets of the same age are grouped and sold in batches. 

To benefit more from macropropagation, Sana noted the importance of organizing in order for farmers to enhance their production and marketing capacity. “Farmer organizations or cooperatives shall manage their people and resources well to sustain their engagement,” Dr. Sana advised.  Relative to this, he also underscored the importance of local government units (LGU) support, especially in coordinating extension services to farmer organizations. In the NVSU experience, the Municipal Agriculture Office played a key role in identifying farmer organizations as a partner and in monitoring activities of the project for technology transfer. 

He noted information sharing and dissemination, such as DA-BAR online seminar, as one of the efficient tools to improve and encourage our farmers and LGU to learn about farm management of bananas and macro-propagation.

Funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, the macro-propagation and improved banana farm management project partnered with Balangon Integrated Growers Association of Sawmill (BIGAS). It was able to produce 7,293 plantlets which were later bought and distributed to farmers by PLGU, Nueva Vizcaya. This then led to the establishment of 15 new banana farms in Nueva Vizcaya. (### Lea B. Calmada and Lara Abegail S. Espiritu )