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Banana growers seek help in fight vs Mokillo disease

MANILA, Philippines – The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) is urging the Department of Agriculture to include the perceived threat and impact of banana disease Mokillo in its priority research area.

“To sustain growth, there has to be collaboration among the pillars of effective participatory governance,” PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig said.

Mokillo or finger tip rot, which is caused by an aerobic bacteria, is a minor disease affecting bananas and plantations including the heavily traded Cavendish banana cultivars.

PBGEA found the best way to control Mokillo is through decontamination of cutting tools and farm equipment using a third level disinfectant. It has continuously put in place measures to safeguard superiority of products and adopts accepted agricultural practice by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Antig added  bio-security measures are being implemented in plantations to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases in crops and livestock, quarantined pests, and living modified organisms.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), banana remains to be the country’s major agricultural exports, second only to coconut oil having shared 15 to18 percent of the total top ten agricultural exports revenue.

The Philippines is recognized as the most efficient producer of quality bananas, contributing over $1 billion in revenues, making the  industry a consistent top dollar earner and an income generator for farmers.

Philippine bananas are being exported to the Middle East, Japan, United States, China and neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand.

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