Bioversity/ BAPNET/ NARS/ Industry Collaboration Outcomes

Saving the Cavendish industry with Foc TR4 resistant variety. A new hope in sustaining Cavendish production and trade using GCTCVs, originally developed by the Taiwan Banana Research Institute through selection from Tissue Culture somaclonal variants. These were shared by TBRI through Bioversity International/BAPNET; evaluated and promoted through public-private partnerships in the Philippines with leadership and coordination by Dr. Agustin “Gus” Molina, Sr. Scientist and Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific of Bioversity International.

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Of the several GCTCVs tested in the Philippines, GCTCV 218 stood out as the most cost-effective variety. It is now commercially used by banana growers in rehabilitating farms severely affected by the disease. While it is not totally immuned , it is much less affected compared to the susceptible commercial Cavendish. It is as high yielding, with big bunches and high box stem ratio as commercial varieties like Williams and Gran Naine. It is also acceptable in the market and fits well in the post-harvest and marketing systems. While now in commercial production, further selection of improved phenotypes are done by growers.

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GCTCV 218 is a major part of the integrated disease management system in alleviating the destructive impact of Foc TR4 in the Philippines, the major banana exporter in Asia. It is a great milestone in the arduous continuing R&D efforts to manage this very serious production constraint.

The adoption of GCTCV 218 in the Philippines is a model of successful public-private collaboration. It may also be used for other countries with similar problem. For instance, TBRI has supplied about half-million true-to-type GCTCV 218 last year to Matanuska Company in Mozambique, Africa as quick commercial trial to rehabilitate their Cavendish plantations devastated by FocTR4. Results are so far very encouraging. TBRI is also offering commercial quantity of high quality GCTCV 218 seedlings to commercial plantations in the Philippines to help meet increasing demand.

GCTCV 218 with big bunch in a farm previously abandoned because of Foc TR4, Matanuska plantation, Namialu. Mozambique (March 2017)

GCTCV 218 with big bunch in a farm previously abandoned because of Foc TR4, Matanuska plantation, Namialu. Mozambique (March 2017)

GCTCV 218 tissue culture seedlings, part of the 500,000 seedlings sold by TBRI to Matanuska Company, Mozambique. Matanuska Nursery, February 2016.

GCTCV 218 tissue culture seedlings, part of the 500,000 seedlings sold by TBRI to Matanuska Company, Mozambique. Matanuska Nursery, February 2016.

GCTCV 218 is a proof of success of a novel method of banana crop improvement – selection of favorable traits from soma clonal variation created by in-vitro mass propagation techniques. GMO and conventional breeding approaches have not resulted into successful commercial results, even after many decades of efforts.

For more information contact:
Agustin “Gus” Molina – a.molina@cgiar.org

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