Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plans (ISPs) Platform

Banana Industry Profile

Banana, with its many potential health benefits, is the most important fruit crop in the Philippines. The Philippine Banana Industry comprises farmers, cooperatives, traders, exporters, and manufacturers but is mainly dominated by large multinational companies. There are three major varieties produced in the country: 1. Cavendish, the primary variety (50% of the total banana production), generates 329,648 jobs in the country, providing P42.3B in annual wages; 2. Lakatan, a popularly known dessert, contributes 11% of the total banana production; and 3. Saba, a major cooking-type banana, comprises 29% of the total banana production. The Philippines is the 3rd largest producer of bananas globally, following India and China in 2014 (FAOStat, 2017). Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as of 2019, the Davao region is the top producer of bananas with 3.43M mt or 37.4% of the total banana production in 2019. Significant banana producers in the Philippines also include the regions of Northern Mindanao, SOCCSKSARGEN, and BARMM, with 21.4, 12.9, and 6.5 percent shares in 2019 production, respectively.  

Banana products are commonly exported fresh and processed like banana chips, one of the emerging export winners of the Philippines. The raw materials for banana chips production are based on two cultivars, namely Saba and Cardaba.

Problems in the Industry

The industry’s major problem is its susceptibility to major diseases such as banana bunchy top disease (BBTD), Sigatoka, and Fusarium wilt (FW), also known as Panama disease. Cavendish was threatened by Fusarium wilt (FW) tropical race 4, a disease caused by a soil-borne pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). FW could thrive in the soil for years, causing banana plants to wilt and make the plantation unproductive. BBTD, on the other hand, is a major constraint and is considered the most destructive virus disease of bananas in the country. It severely affects the Lakatan variety, which is commonly grown by small-scale growers. The industry further faced a lack of supply, particularly in the banana chips industry, mainly due to traditional Saba taking several months (18-24 months) before it can be harvested.

 

ISP for Banana

PCAARRD ISP on banana aims to reduce the incidence of FW on Cavendish in Mindanao by 90-95% and the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) in Lakatan from 70% to 20%. It also aims to develop a dwarf Saba which can be harvested earlier at 12-18 months compared with the traditional Saba at 18-24 months.

Strategic R&D

Strategic R&D is DOST-PCAARRD’s banner program comprising all R&D activities that are intended to
generate outputs geared towards maximum economic and social benefits

Technologies

Products, equipment, and protocols or process innovations developed to improve productivity, efficiency,
quality, and profitability in the agriculture and aquatic industries, and to achieve sustainable
utilization and management of natural resources

Banana Diseases Surveillance System

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Technology Transfer Initiatives

Technology transfer initiatives ensure that the outputs of R&D and innovations are transformed
into viable and applicable technologies that help intended users

Capacity Building

Capacity building efforts of DOST-PCAARRD seek to develop and enhance the R&D capabilities of researchers
and academic or research institutions through graduate assistantships & non-degree trainings
and development and/or upgrading of research facilities

Infrastructure Development

Manpower Development

Capacity building on Banana production, disease management and introduction of Lakatan cultivar

Policy Research & Advocacy

Analysis of policy concerns and advocacy of science-informed policies ensures that the AANR policy environment is conducive for S&T development
and investments
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Competitiveness of Philippine Cavendish Industry under the ASEAN Economic Community

The study shows that banana production in the country is competitive under both export trade and import substitution scenarios. This implies that Philippine banana is competitive internationally and exporting it can help earn foreign exchange. The cost of producing these domestically is also much cheaper relative to imports. Results also show that the Philippine banana industry can still be competitive even if yield (52.62 mt/ha) goes down by 58 percent, or domestic and foreign cost rise by 210 and 426 percent, respectively. Sustaining this competitiveness would require continuous investment in banana R&D, especially that the industry is still facing major challenges.

Reference:

Lapiña, G. F. and Andal, E. T. (2017). ASEAN Economic Community: Opportunities and Challenges for the Crops Sector. Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines: Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development – (Project Report)