EC banana plantation trees

Philippine researchers are developing a new banana variety, aimed at minimising the impact of a disease that is threatening the nation’s banana exports, according to Business Mirror.

Initial testing indicates the new lacatan variety is highly resistant to the banana bunchy top virus (BBTV), which alters the regular shape of the banana plant’s leaves and leads to premature plant death. Winged insects are the known carriers of the disease.

The new variety has been developed by a research team at the University of the Philippines, who have used gamma irradiation to sterilise the plant and create a set of plant genes.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources has anticipated a 20 per cent reduction in BBTV incursions for growers who convert to the new variety.

The research team will continue to asses the new variety’s fruit baring potential once it is planted across five Philippine provinces.