SMALL-SCALE Cavendish growers in Mindanao are seeking help from the government in the face of continued decline in production. Among the existing problems they said they are facing are soil degradation, pests and diseases, poor drainage and irrigation system, and limited land for planting. Ugnayan ng mga Nagsasariling Lokal na Organisasyon sa Kanayunan (Unorka)-Mindanao president and Cavendish grower Jerome Amulata said that in 2017, their cooperative was still able to harvest around 5,000 boxes of Cavendish bananas. However the following years, Amulata said production reached only 1,300 boxes. “Unta na mahatagan ni og pagtagad kay ang among kita dili gyud paigo sa amo og among pamilya (We hope this problem will be given attention because our income is not enough to support our family),” he said. With this, Unorka-Mindanao came up with a resolution requesting the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other relevant agencies of the government to put forth interventions that will improve the farm productivity of agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) Cavendish growers. “The ARB Cavendish growers were confronted with the declining productivity of their farms that were once managed under a unified and intensive management system of the former corporate entity,” stated in the Resolution no. 2, series of 2019. “After the subdivision of the corporate plantations into several groups of ARB beneficiaries in the past decade, the farms now are suffering due to soil degradation, unhealthy or diseased plants, and poor drainage and irrigation system. These were resulted from the poor management due to the lack of capacity and capital of the ARB growers to implement the necessary measures,” it added. The organization reiterated the need for farmers to comply with good agricultural practices (GAP) and implement standard operating procedures in order to produce quality and reliable supply of Cavendish bananas. The need to reach market standards was also emphasized as it will enable the ARB Cavendish growers to access better markets and other opportunities. “We strongly request DA and Department of Trade and Industry, and other government agencies to provide us access to necessary credit facility in order to finance the activities and improvements to comply with the requirements of the GAP and other market standards,” stated in the resolution. Unorka-Mindanao has 1,200 members that are identified as Cavendish growers.