Saving the Philippine banana industry from the dreaded Panama wilt disease

Fusarium wilt disease, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc), is a major concern of the global banana industry having wiped out the Gros michel plantations in Central America which consequently caused the costly shift to Foc resistant Cavendish varieties in the 1950s. A virulent strain that attacks Cavendish, the Foc Tropical race 4 (TR4), has been found causing epidemic on Cavendish in Asia. The recent epidemic of Fusarium wilt disease in Cavendish plantations in the Philippines poses a serious threat to the sustainability of the multi-million dollar Cavendish-based export industry, to the country as top banana exporter in Asia, and to the local cultivars grown by small-scale farmers as well.

This video documents the initial results of the field trials conducted in Davao provinces, under commercial plantations, of introduced somaclonal Cavendish selections (GCTCV 219) from the Taiwan Banana Research Institute (TBRI). The result of this study would be of great value in the attempt to mitigate the threat of Fusarium wilt epidemics in the country.

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Part 2: