Good news in the fight against the deadly banana disease Fusarium wilt, comes from the Philippines.
A banana variety known as GCTCV-219 (a Philippine selection of a Giant Cavendish Tissue-Culture Variant from the Taiwan Banana Research Institute) is resistant to the disease – including its latest strain Tropical Race 4 currently found in Asia, Oceania and Africa. This new variety could be a potential alternative for the commercial Cavendish variety, the most widely grown group of bananas for international trade and domestic use, which is susceptible to this destructive banana disease.
In the Philippines, Bioversity International scientist Agustin Molina has been working with local partners and the Philippines Bureau of Agricultural Research to test GCTCV-219 and introduce it to farmers whose fields were affected by Fusarium wilt.
Although the bunches of this variety are slightly smaller than those of the most popular Cavendish cultivars and the plants take longer to bear fruit, it is a sweeter banana and has been well received by farmers.
Thanks to some innovations – such as the optimization of the harvesting time and ripening protocol, and improvements in packaging and branding – the new banana variety has now been successfully exported to Japan offering more income opportunities for the Filipino farmers.
Read more about this story in The Manila Times and in the Philippines Bureau of Agricultural Research press release
Photo: A bunch of GCTCV 219 banana, a variety resistant to Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4. Credit: BAPNET