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Davao City, Philippines

DA-11 backs alternative solution vs Panama disease

September 15, 2019 - Sunday 10:09 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION. Department of Agriculture-11 Director Ricardo Oñate Jr. (right) listens to Roni Manching, a farmer scientist who came up with a solution to manage the Fusarium wilt disease. PNA

DAVAO CITY -- With the onslaught of Fusarium wilt or Panama disease in Davao Region, the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) said it was considering the use of foliar and “biocon" agent created by a farmer in Davao del Norte as an alternative solution to combat the disease.

DA-11 Director Ricardo Oñate Jr. said Thursday that the KWR Permaculture concoctions run by Roni Manching, a farmer scientist, is a trusted preventive agent to manage the disease.

"What is important is for us is to make an atmosphere to be productive. If we will wait and do nothing, our small farmers will be greatly affected," Oñate told the Philippine News Agency (PNA), adding that "we are giving our farmers hope and option for them to continue in banana farming."

Fusarium wilt is a soil-borne pathogen, an invincible breed of fungi that is attracted to banana plants. It has the ability to live or exist in long time dormancy (30-50 years).

Fusarium fungi block plants vascular system (Phloem) depriving the plant of the necessary minerals, nutrients and moisture, thus causing it to turn yellow until it dies down.

Manching, who is also an organic advocate, said that his mission is to introduce simplified farming practices by producing high-quality banana for export relying on soils’ natural potential.

“KWR’s simplified banana farming system uses basic but effective farming approaches focusing on plants natural behavior and character in consonance with nature’s diverse resources to sustain plants need,” he stressed.

He said the acidity of the soil is the main cause why the pathogens become active and that’s when Fusarium arises and destroys the plant.

He said the foliar solution would arrest Sigatoka infection and will allow fruit-setting while the “biocon" is for the soil treatment to manage Fusarium wilt.

Currently, Manching said that the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) did various trials using their concoctions on horticulture, vegetable production, and drip irrigation.

KWR Permaculture has already served 50 sites with about 600 hectares in the various provinces of Davao Region. Last month, the team was invited to present its simplified farming system study during the 6th International Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We are elated that they believe in our study and we made them realized that the problem in the banana industry is serious and can be a worldwide phenomenon,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dodz Alegado, a banana farmer of Panabo City, Davao del Norte, said that 70 percent of his 35-hectare banana plantation suffered from the destructive Fusarium wilt.

He told PNA that he tried various foliar and synthetic solutions but all of it was useless as the disease continued to plague his farm.

“I tried the foliar and I saw amazing results. I was able to control the disease by using the biocon also,” he said.

“Fusarium is invincible. We cannot stop it but we can manage it,” Manching said. PNA