By Marciano Paroy Jr.
Banana production is one viable farming venture. However, its production in the province has not reached considerable proportions yet since most farmers fear the risks associated with the crop – specifically, the diseases, like bunchy top, that easily attack the plants as early as the plantlet stage.
But this will soon be addressed by the production of high-quality plantlets that have passed efficient propagation techniques inside the laboratory. These planting materials are currently undergoing what is known as tissue-culture method or micro-propagation inside the tissue-culture laboratory of the KASC Research Division – currently the only tissue-culture lab in the province. Dr. Hazel Buslig oversees the method, having undergone training to equip her with the necessary expertise.
According to Researcher Buslig, tissue culture is a rapid technique used in the production of planting materials by breeding them with the help of an artificial nutrient under sterile condition, which is why the technique should be housed under a carefully monitored lab.
“The advantage of using banana plantlets that have been cultured is obvious. Aside from having higher rates of reproduction, they are sure to be disease-free at the moment of planting, and they very high resistance to the possibility of catching disease as they grow. It’s even more practical because a single stock may produce hundreds or thousands of plants,” the tissue culture expert explained. “Actually, the technique is very much in use in Benguet, particularly by growers of potatoes, orchids and cut-flowers.”
Mr. Ferdinand Ganotice, Research Coordinator, added that the plantlets housed at the tissue-culture lab of KASC will soon be planted at the banana research area. Their growth shall serve as the school’s show window for interested researchers and farmers to observe. When assessed and recommended to be transferable for the community, the plantlets will then be sold to farmers so that they may benefit from the utilization of planting materials that shall erase their apprehension about going into banana production full blast.