|DR. EMILY FEBREGAR|
DR. EMILY FABREGAR is head of the Research and Development Department of Lapanday Foods Corporation, one of the big banana companies growing Cavendish bananas for export.
She is in charge of the tissue culture laboratory which produced about 1.5 million tissue cultured Cavendish for their own company’s use last year.
The lab also produced some 600,000 tissue-cultured lakatan for sale to various private growers last year, not only in Mindanao but also in Luzon and elsewhere.
Dr. Agustin Molina of Bioversity International who has been helping government and private agencies involved in farming, particularly bananas, said that the big tissue culture laboratories in Mindanao, such as that of Lapanday,.are the best sources of tissue-cultured lakatan. The small plantlets are transported to Luzon and hardened in nurseries near where these plants would be planted. A total of 2,500 small plants removed from the flask can be contained in one ordinary carton which is simply air-freighted to Luzon.
It is true that there are tissue culture laboratories put up in some colleges of agriculture in the provinces but these cannot produce enough of the same quality and cost like what the big laboratories are producing.
To Dr. Molina, the setting up of the laboratories in the colleges is a failure if the intention was to produce tissue cultured planting materials for commercial plantations. They may be useful for teaching students.