BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: A Davao City-based corporation expects to boost the banana industry in Cagayan province after it introduced a technology that is essential to increase yield and improve fruit quality.

Jopet Roferos of Ramgo International Corp.-Davao City said that banana bagging is a common practice in Davao City to ensure that their bananas for export are free from damage brought by insects and diseases.

"With bagging, we can maintain the good quality of our bananas because they are protected from damage from birds, insects, and other predators," Roferos said.

Banana bagging consists in placing a cover over the bunch to protect the fruit against damage caused by insects and other animals, by rubbing against the leaves or by the application of chemical products.

The innovation is attributed to Carlos Gonzales Fajardo in 1956 in Guatemala. The practice of bagging has since spread to all export plantations and is considered essential to increase yield and improve fruit quality.

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Experts explain that the cover creates a microclimate that maintains a high temperature and prevents chill damage. This microclimate can reduce by many days the flower-to-harvest interval (between 4 to 14 days depending on the type of cover and the environmental conditions) and increase bunch weight.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 2 headed by executive director Narciso Edillo said banana farmers in Peñablanca town in Cagayan province have undergone a technical briefing demonstration from Ramgo on banana bagging technology.

"These farmers are now equipped with the banana bagging technology to improve the quality of their produce for better market opportunities," Edillo said.

The DA said the briefing and demonstration on banana bagging technology on Wednesday, August 31, was held in Barangay Baliuag in Peñablanca through the DA Region 2 High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).

It was attended by around 30 farmers who are members of Pentur Farmers Cooperative in Peñablanca, the town known as the Caving Adventure Capital of the Philippines due to the famous Callao Caves.

"The activity was a welcome development to the rising banana industry in Peñablanca," Edillo said.

Mayda Callueng, Agricultural Program Coordinating officer of the DA Southern Cagayan Research Center, said the briefing is timely and necessary.

"It was a great help to the farmers in Peñablanca town to learn new technologies and make their products more beautiful and more acceptable in the market," Callueng said.

Juan Gammad of Pentur Farmers Cooperative expressed thanks to the DA Region 2 for staging the technical briefing and demonstration.

"We are grateful because we have learned something about banana production which is another source of income for the community," Gammad said.

Meanwhile, Manimarico Callao, DA-HVCDP agriculturist, said another technical briefing was also conducted in San Guillermo town in Isabela and Maddela town in Quirino on September 1 and 2, respectively.