Workshop on banana’s Panama disease opens today

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014


THE two-day International Stakeholder Workshop for the banana sector is set to open today, February 6, at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.

THE workshop, organized by the University of the Philippines-Mindanao and the Wageningen University of the Netherlands under the umbrella of the Interdisciplinary Research and Educatopm Fund (Inref) program of the university, will delve on "Panama Disease in Banana: Multi-level Solutions for a Global Problem."

UP-Mindanao chancellor Dr. Sylvia Concepcion said they have invited the members of the banana industry, Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), farm cooperatives, and research institutions.

"We have gathered a group of experts from around the globe to start a workshop discussing the Panama disease with the stakeholders of the banana industry," she said.

Concepcion said a team was formed to do a research on Panama disease and before they go on full scale research, they need to gather the stakeholders to get their perspectives on the disease.
Dr. Gert Kema, one of the heads of the research team, said there is no single solution for the disease, and thus the importance of discussing and knowing what are the perspectives of the stakeholders to the disease.

He said ideas will be shared among different stakeholders who are not only from the Philippines but also from other countries like Uganda and the United States.

"The disease is now spreading outside of Southeast Asia and it is now being a concern in a global scale therefore it is very important that we consult with farmers here in Mindanao to exchange ideas with them," Kema said.

He said they will be finding out some of the practices being done in Mindanao are and how it can be developed.

Dr. Sietze Vellema said one of the main things that will also be discussed is to get a better grip on how the disease can spread.

"One of the topics that will be tackled is how the disease can be monitored and what are the types of surveillances are there in the Philippines and internationally," he said.

They will also be making an inventory of all the practices and its efficiency and also the diversification of farms and banana species that are being affected by the disease.

The workshop will have speakers from the National Agricultural Research Organization (Naro), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Banana Forum, Tropical Research and Education Center of the University of Florida, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities of Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and Chiquita Brands International of Costa Rica.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 06, 2014.

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