The Tagum Agricultural Development Company launched on Monday three state-of-the art laboratory facilities that are predicted to help increase banana production in the Davao region in its bid to regain its standing as a major supplier of the commodity in the world market.
“I am not prepared to call these facilities a game changer but it would certainly help large and small banana growers to maximize production,” said Alexander Valoria, president of TADECO.
The three facilities, made possible with a P100 Million investment and a Dutch government grant, comprised of a pathology (pest and diseases), tissue culture and trichoderma laboratories. Valoria said companies and farmer-growers can avail themselves of the facilities at minimal fees.
He added: “To be able to check on soil nutrient status, diagnosis of diseases through conventional and molecular approaches e.g for FW in plants or soil or in water, root health status, active ingredient analysis for formulated products, analysis of fertilizers, etc. quickly and here in Davao del Norte will be a huge advantage for the banana industry. Furthermore, we will be selling tissue cultured planting material that is FW tolerant as well as selling trichoderma packs that we ourselves use extensively and consider integral to our program against FW.”
The tissue culture laboratory can produce 300,000 bottles of plantlets under one roof while the trichoderma laboratory was able to produce 3,000 units in 2017.
Dr. Benny M. Corcolon, vice-president for research said the facilities took five years to evolve through hard work and research.
“It is with pride to say we have the antidote to fusarium wilt in trichoderma production in addition to the use of fusarium-wilt resistant plant materials,” he said.
The laboratories are the first to be accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry in Mindanao.
Valoria said that because of the technologies, Tadeco produced a record 35.99 million boxes in 2017 or an average yield of 5,400 boxes per hectares.
Panabo mayor James Gamao said the laboratories would be a big boost to small growers in improving their production. Aside from Gamao, Mayors Daniel Batosalem, Jr, Virginia Perandos and Lean Moral-Romano of the towns of Sto. Tomas, Carmen and Dujali, respectively were also appreciative of the opening up of the facilities to the industry.
Valoria added: “We want only the best for our agricultural crops, thus with our latest and modern laboratory facilities, we can offer prompt and credible laboratory analysis and assessment. Before, it would cost us much and would take months before we can verify that our plants were infected with Fusarium wilt. But now, it will take us an hour to identify the disease and we can immediately isolate and rehabilitate our infected areas. That is what we also want to share with you.”