Philippines: Banana producers association founded

Negros Island Integrated Banana Producers Association was formed to establish the value chain of bananas in Negros and recruit more members in Occidental and Oriental Negros, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Provincial Cacao and Coffee Coordinator Marjo Balinas, said Tuesday.

The association has 30 members from districts one to six and the lone district of Bacolod and it targets to establish compact banana plantations in Negros, he said.

He said each farmer in the districts will plant .5 to 1 hectare and up and aims for 8 to 15 metric tons production per hectare.
There are about 9,500 hectares scattered in Negros where they can plant Cardaba, Saba, Lacatan, Balangon and other native types, he added.
Through this program, he said, banana plantation with prospective market establishment as well as for processing and local consumption, can be sustained.
There will also be processing of banana by-products and farm mechanization for sustainability, he added.
He said the association is a product of the training last week where farmers were taught proper fertilization of banana, planting distance, care and management during the growing period, control strategies, fruit handling, caring, washing and packing.*KDP

AFTER the banana production training recently conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), banana farmers in Negros Occidental organized the Negros Island Banana Growers Association that will work for the strengthening of rehabilitation efforts for banana plantations in the province.The efforts are also geared towards the province’s food security initiatives following the creation of Negros Island Region (NIR) and in preparation for the Asean economic integration.

The association is chaired by Napoleon Tumunong, a retired chemical engineer with a banana farm in Talisay City.

Provincial Commodity Coordinator Marjo Balinas said the association will help different districts in the province establish their respective banana plantation sites for sustainability and strong post-harvest and marketing support from the government and non-government organizations (NGOs).

Balinas said the association targets that after the production, local banana growers may be given processing and marketing training as well as post-harvest mechanization programs in order to start one to five hectares of banana plantation site instead of staying backyard-based.

“The Department and Agriculture through various livelihood programs has helped farmers before but for those with small-scale and backyard-based farms only,” Balinas said, adding that through the association, the rehabilitation and implementation of plantation sites will be strengthened.

Farmers can start establishing a banana plantation site from half a hectare up, and if all districts have this, there will be supply and market sustainability in the province, he said.

Moreover, through large scale plantations, the association is also eyeing to eventually achieve self-sufficiency in terms of banana products.

It will surely impact the current 9, 500 hectares of banana production area in Negros Occidental by increasing the 8.2 metric tons annual average production to 15 metric tons, Balinas said. (EPN)