Planting Fusarium Wilt (Foc) TR4-resistant Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variants (GCTCVs) is becoming a practical option in managing epidemics of Fusarium Wilt TR4 in commercial plantations in the Philippines. After a series of Bioversity International’s field evaluations in public-private partnerships, two GCTCV varieties, namely, GCTCV 218 and GCTCV 219 proved to be the most acceptable option in managing Foc TR4 for big commercial companies and small growers. GCTV 218, known as Formosana in Taiwan, is more acceptable to growers than GCTCV 219. The former is moderately resistant to Foc TR4 under severe inoculum pressure. However, under lower disease pressure coupled with good cultural practices such as early detection and effective eradication, and on-farm quarantine, GCTCV 218 only suffers low levels of disease even at 3rd ratoon in commercial fields. GCTCV 218 has big bunches and fruit quality comparable with the commercial TR4-susceptible standard, Cavendish. Agronomic and post-harvest characteristics of this variety are also acceptable by producers and markets.
GCTCV 219, a variant of GCTCV 119, is highly resistant to Foc TR4 compared to GCTCV 218. It is recommended for the rehabilitation of abandoned farms of small growers. While GCTCV 219 is resistant and sweet, its bunch and agronomic characteristics are more inferior to that of GCTCV 218 and Gran Naine. GCTCV 219 is taller, later maturing, has less box-stem ratio and is more of a floater, thus prone to yield decline over time. Growers are satisfied with the level of resistance of GCTCV 219, although productivity is their main concern.
GCTCV 218, GCTCV 219 and other GCTCVs were acquired from the Taiwan Banana Research Institute (TBRI) through Bioversity International. These varieties were introduced in the Philippines and other BAPNET countries by Dr. Agustin Molina, Bioversity’s Sr. Scientist and Regional Coordinator for Asia. In the Philippines, these varieties were introduced through Bioversity’s partners, the Institute of Plant Breeding, UPLB; and the Bureau of Plant Industry-Davao City. Supported through funding streams and coordination by Bioversity, DA-BAR, and PCAARRD, preliminary field evaluations were carried out in cooperation with Bureau of Plant Industry-Davao City, University of SouthEastern Philippines (USEP), DA-Region 11, Lapanday Food Corporation, independent/small Cavendish growers. Big companies like TADECO, Dole, Lapanday have accessed these varieties from Bioversity’s partners, selected and adapted in their in-house trials to include this variety, which fits their purposes.
Many big commercial growers are satisfied with the performance of GCTCV 218 as a commercial option in managing Foc TR4. Recently most of them have begun mass producing and growing GCTCV 218 in a commercial scale. They also continue to select for better phenotypes in terms of agronomic traits since GCTCV 218 matures a couple of weeks later than Gran Naine, and still has a tendency to “float” and choke particularly under suboptimal growing conditions. GCTCV 219 is acceptable under high disease pressure and serves a special market, as this is sweeter, but fruits must be packed differently compared to GCTCV 218 and Gran Naine.
Bioversity International and its BAPNET partners are optimistic about this promising outcome from its collaborative works for mitigating the effects of Foc TR4 in Asia.
For more information: Contact Dr. Agustin (Gus) Molina, (Bioversity International – Philippine Office, 3F GS Khush Hall, IRRI, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines 4031
Contact #: +63 49 5360532