DAVAO banana farmers affected by Panama disease and flooding are encouraged to embark on oil palm as an alternative source of income, a business leader said.

Ireneo D. Dalayon, chief-executive-officer of the Federation of Cooperatives in Mindanao (Fedco), told reporters on Monday that those farmers who can no longer be planted with bananas should venture into oil palm.

"The demand for palm oil right now is high because for example, we import 70 percent of our cooking oil," he said.

Dalayon said banana plantations that were wiped out due to Panama diseases have been abandoned by the farmers.

"It is not good anymore for planting bananas so they have to plant palm oil in these areas for it to be productive," he said.

Also with the climate change, the executive said oil palm is a more resilient crop that can withstand massive flooding, most especially for the farms that are situated near the riverbanks.

Dalayon also said they are organizing the farmers in the region who have unused lands intended for banana plantations to develop them into oil palm plantations.

He said if there is an increase in the production of palm oil, then there will also be a need to put up processing plants.

Even as they are still in the early stage of exploring the oil palm, Dalayon said they have seen a strong market potential for the crop.

The executive said they are still consolidating the data on how big are the oil palm plantations in the region.