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House bill seeks to set up banana research center

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A Department of Science and Technology staff shows tissue cultured from varieties of wilt-resistant cavendish bananas. -- BW FILE PHOTO

A PARTY-LIST legislator has filed a bill seeking to establish a banana research institute to develop better planting methods and find new uses for the plant, one of the Philippines’ leading fruit exports.

Rep. Raymond C. Mendoza of TUCP Party list filed House Bill No. 2622, noting that the banana industry pays about P1.78 billion in local taxes a year and provides income opportunities for some 30,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“The industry has become a potent instrument of development and empowerment for almost two million residents of Mindanao who depend on it… It is ironic that the strategic value of the industry was built with little or no assistance from government,” Mr. Mendoza said in his explanatory note.

The measure hopes to establish the National Research, Development and Extension Center for Banana at the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City.

The research center will develop improved cultivars through traditional and biotechnological methods; develop efficient, economic, and productive banana production technologies; develop effective and efficient production systems for all banana varieties; discover productive banana-based farming systems; establish international linkages for banana research; and provide training for workers and farmers.

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The bill provides for tax and duty exemptions for the research center, including on imported machinery. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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