Sweeter cavendish will cater to new market

GIANT Cavendish Tissue Culture Variants (GCTCV) 219 can cater to a specific niche market especially export markets looking for sweeter variety of bananas, research says.

On August 23 to 25, the Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (Smaarrdec) celebrated its 30th anniversary simultaneously conducting forums and exhibits at Abreeza Ayala Malls. Last Thursday, August 24, the Regional Symposium on Research and Development Highlights (RSRDH) was presented on studies relevant to the agricultural needs of the region.

In the presentation of Cyril Montiel, a researcher from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), compared the results and observations gained from the field test of GCTCV 218 and GCTCV 219, the two variants that were developed to be Fusarium Wilt-resistant. Included also in the comparison is the Grand Nain variant, a common cultivated commercial Cavendish banana.

According to the study, the percentage of Fusarium Wilt in Grand Naine variety can reach up to 70 to 100 percent while only 8 to 15 percent for GCTCV 218. The case is the lowest for GCTCV 219 with only 2 to 3 percent incident percentage.

However, GCTCV 219 takes about 28 to 40 weeks before the bud shooting as compared to GCTCV 218 which is only 24 to 27 weeks and Grand Naine only 20 to 22 weeks.

Although GCTCV 219 is much highly resistant to Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR 4) compared to GCTCV 218, which is only tagged as moderately resistant, Montiel said more farmers still prefer the latter agronomically. This is because of smaller and sometimes distorted fingers produced by GCTCV 219.

But since GCTCV 219 produces the sweetest banana, farmers came up with four-finger pack, selecting the best formed banana fingers among the bunch, just so export can still be done.

Montiel said this specific variety can be a possible export edge of the region in terms of exporting sweeter varieties on top of GCTCV 218 and Grand Nain. The country makes an average of $1.2 billion for export of Cavendish banana with majority of this coming from Davao Region.

Currently, there is a total of 57,770 plantlets of GCTCV 219 distributed around Davao Region with 32,270 of these from Davao del Norte, 20,000 from Compostela Valley, and 5,500 from Davao City.

“GCTCV 219 and 218 can be planted in areas with high Fusarium Wilt incidence but not as replacement to Grand Nain because it is still the best export variety that we had,” said Montiel.
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