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New Research and Development Center to Further Boost the Potential of the Banana Industry – PANGANIBAN

The banana industry has been sagging for a time but it has grown to about a $1.5 billion dollar industry and employs about 500,000 people.

While there has been some improvement based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that shows that banana production has increased from 8.8 million metric tons in 2014 to 9.83 million metric tons in 2015, its full potential has not yet been maximized.

As a direct response, the House committee on agriculture and food has approved a bill which aims to further develop the country’s banana industry and address the serious diseases afflicting it through the establishment of the Philippine National Banana Research and Development Center in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

The approved House Bill 2926 seeks to put up the Philippine National Banana Research and Development Center to be known as the “Antonio O. Floirendo, Sr. Banana Research and Development Center” in recognition of the many great and singular contributions made by Floirendo to the now thriving and nationally vital banana industry.

The bill is authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga.

Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr. of ANAC-IP partylist, committee chairman, said the measure seeks to provide research and development techniques for the production, post-harvest, handling and maintenance of the gene bank for good quality varieties of banana which will further boost the potentials of the banana industry.

The bill provides that the Philippine National Banana Research and Development Center shall be mandated to integrate, collate, and support research and development programs and studies on the banana industry and to conduct continuing research on developing productive, high-yielding, disease-resistant, and good varieties of banana.

The Center shall likewise conduct comprehensive studies and research on banana diseases and how to efficiently and effectively address the same as well as undertake research and generate relevant, efficient, cost-effective, and scientifically viable approaches to achieve greater sustainability into banana farming.

It shall also establish, upgrade and maintain germplasm collection and gene bank for banana and banana strains. Moreover, it shall accelerate the transfer of improved banana technologies to farmers and other stakeholders through on-farm research, and scale-up best practices to effectively develop and strengthen the banana supply/chain value, among others.

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