FHIA Banana at MMSU, Batac City

THESE are really big bunches of FHIA banana photographed sometime back at the demo farm at the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City, Ilocos Norte. The guys checking one big bunch are Dr. Agustin B. Molina (left) of Bioversity International and Dr. Heraldo Layaoen, a vice president of MMSU who is better known as project leader of the Sweet Sorghum research and development program. The banana variety was introduced by Dr Agustin Molina from Honduras. FHIA stands for Fundacion Hondureno de Investigacion Agricola.
While the FHIA banana is not as sweet as the Cavendish ordinarily grown by the big exporters, it can be a good material for making banana chips.

Dr. Molina is a senior scientist and is the Regional Coordinator of Bioversity International’s Commodities for Livelihoods Program. He leads banana research efforts in the Asia Pacific region primarily by bringing together R&D collaborations from the academe, government, NGOs, and the private industry through the Banana Asia-Pacific Network (BAPNET). As a scientist, he is the leader of the global research efforts of Bioversity International to address important pests and diseases, conservation and use of banana genetic diversity.
Bioversity, through Dr. Molina, has been instrumental in initiating a public-private partnership that has resulted in the rehabilitation of the lakatan plantings of small farmers in Northern Luzon in recent years. That’s through the use of tissue cultured planting materials sourced from big laboratories in Mindanao. The small bare root seedlings are transported to Luzon by air. These are then cultured in nurseries near where they are going to be planted. This facilitates the transport of planting materials to the countryside.

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