Davao del Norte and two of its local government units were adjudged as the best LGUs in managing Fusarium wilt in the Davao Region.
The province received P1 million for grabbing the top prize in the Provincial Level-Category 1 in the Search for the Best-Managed Banana Fusarium Infected Farms in Region XI.
At the same time, the municipality of Sto. Tomas also received P445,000 for clinching the Best Municipality, while Barangay La Libertad got P300,000 for winning the Best Barangay award.
Dr. Susan Razo, Chief of the Integrated Laboratoty Division (ILD) of Department of Agriculture-XI, hailed the province, along with its winning LGUs for their commitment in implementing the government’s Fusarium wilt management program.
“Isa itong pagkilala sa mga farmers at implementers na nag-exert ng extra effort para ma-control ang Fusarium wilt,” she said.
Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Anastacia Notarte received the recognition, on behalf of Governor Anthony del Rosario, during the awarding ceremony on February 1, 2017 at the Pinnacle Hotel and Suites, Davao City.
She said the province succeeded in widening its information dissemination campaign on fusarium control and management among Cavendish banana growers and farmers, as well as the general public, to save the “biggest dollar-earner in the province.
“Nagmalampuson kita sa pag-inform sa atong mga banana growers, farmers ug katawhan unsaon pag-manage sa fusarium (We succeeded in disseminating proper fusarium management to growers, farmers and the public),” she said.
Notarte revealed the winnings will be used for the purchase of equipment for the Provincial Tissue Culture Laboratory due for construction this March.
Fusarium wilt is caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysforum sp. cubense that attacks the vascular system of the banana, preventing it from picking up water.
Posing a serious threat to the banana industry, the lethal fungal disease affected over 13,500 hectares in Davao del Norte, representing 38 percent of the total 35,250 hectares allotted to export banana in the province.
In 2015, the agriculture department turned-over P34.28 million to help the province contain the disease.
The fund was used in the conduct of trainings on good agricultural practices on banana, as well as, for the production of Trichoderma harzianum, as an effective bio-control anti-fungal agent.
Affected growers were also encouraged to shift to GTC-219, a banana variety that is resistant to the disease.
Razo remains optimistic that the banana epidemic will be arrested with the support and cooperation of everyone.
“Dapat magtulungan ang lahat sa pag-implement ng ating quarantine law, especially the use of foot baths… The farmers and growers should cooperate kung ano ang tinuturo ng mga implementers. They should be responsive. This is the task of everybody,” she said.