Banana is one of the major commodities grown in the Aurora Province. It ranks third to rice and coconut in terms of hectarage covering a total area of 2,055 hectares (BAS, 2010). The province produced 12,881 mt bananas distributed by cultivar as follows: Lakatan -1,251 mt; Saba – 8,895 mt; and other varieties – 2,735 mt (BAS, 2010). Dingalan, Aurora produced almost 70 percent of banana in the province.
The S&T based farm established by PCAARRD through CLARRDEC in Dingalan, Aurora in 2009 showed the high potential of Saba production in the area. Through the adoption of the following S&T interventions on the rehabilitation of Saba of the Magsasaka Syentista such as application of the right kind and amount of fertilizers and desuckering to maintain 3-4 suckers per mat) resulted in an increase in yield from 8 to 12 hands per bunch with corresponding weight increase from 15.96 kg (following farmer’s practice) to 22.68 kg (with S&T intervention). Partial budget analysis of a 2-year data from 50 mats revealed a PhP 33,000.00 difference in income following the S&T interventions.
Bananas particularly the major cultivars such as Lakatan & Latundan are commonly affected by various pests and diseases. To reduce the incidence of infection, especially of viral diseases, the use of disease-free or clean planting materials is recommended.
Moreover, proper management practices when already grown in the field must be followed. In order to produce clean planting materials, the banana shoot-tip culture technique, more commonly known as tissue culture method, which is proven to be a rapid clonal micropropagation at optimum cost can be established by competent laboratories and personnel (Recel,2006). One banana sucker can produce a maximum of 1,500 plantlets or meristem in eight months. It is a reliable means of mass-producing planting materials for commercial banana farms.
The project aims to:
- Expand the existing ASCOT tissue culture laboratory and nursery.
- Produce meriplants of Lakatan and Saba for Aurora and nearby provinces;
- Train staff and technicians on the improved protocol for mass propagation of banana planting materials.
- Capacitate laboratory technicians/ potential entrepreneurs/ LGU members on nursery-management of banana through hands-on training.
- Establish half hectare (lakatan and saba) techno-demo plots and one hectare plantation (1/2 ha. Lakatan and ½ hectare Saba) adopting the recommended package of technology.
The project is funded by the PCAARRD-DOST through the Office of the Sen. Edgardo J. Angara amounting to PhP6,890,000.00 with Dr. Eutiquio L. Rotaquio, Jr. as the project leader.