THE Department of Agriculture- Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DA-DRRM) reported that around P26.1 million worth of banana plants in Davao del Sur were damaged by the El Niño phenomenon as of March 31, 2019.
DA-DRRM focal person Roy Jose Pascua said the areas affected are Magsaysay, Matanao and Padada in Davao del Sur.
About P11.5 million worth of damaged crops were cardava while around P14.6 million were lakatan.
Pascua said a total of 668 banana farmers and 667.8 hectares of land planted with bananas have been affected.
Another problem that the small banana farmers are currently facing is the worsening damage caused by the Panama disease or Fusarium wilt that affects the productivity of banana plantations in Mindanao. It is caused by the soil-inhabiting fungus species Fusarium oxysporum forma specialis cubense.
Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (Pbgea) executive director Stephen Antig said in a text message to SunStar Davao Thursday, April 4, that they have requested the DA for an inventory of areas affected by El Niño.
Antig said several small banana farmers are affected by the El Niño.
“A lot are suffering because of the drought especially those that do not have irrigation system in place. We will request DA to make an inventory soon,” Antig said.
According to studies, bananas should be irrigated and its soil moisture should be monitored regularly to ensure effective irrigation. Pascua also explained that bananas have higher water requirement than other high-value crops.
“Kailangan ng banana ang sufficient water para makakuha rin siya ng nutrients and para makabunga. High-percentage of water and composition nito dahil hindi siya deep-rooted at short-lived,” Pascua said.