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Philippines and Japan Universities Join Forces To Promote Banana and Cacao Production

Clockwise: Philippine Embassy in Tokyo Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar delivering remarks during the virtual signing ceremony; Tamagawa University President Yoshiaki Obara and CLSU President Dr. Edgar Orden present the signed Collaborative Research Agreement on the Development of Novel Disease Management Systems for Banana and Cacao; and officials of the Tamagawa University in Tokyo witness the signing ceremony.

13 July 2021 – In a virtual ceremony held today, the Central Luzon State University (Philippines) and Tamagawa University (Japan) signed a collaborative research agreement that aims to establish integrated technology systems for the control of diseases in banana and cacao. The project, which will be implemented this year until 2026, will be supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the “Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development” (SARTREPS).

Deputy Chief of Mission Robespierre L. Bolivar, representing the Ambassador at the ceremony, welcomed this occasion and stated that, “the launching today of the collaborative research tie up between two prestigious universities, in partnership with select Japanese agricultural universities and research institution and a business enterprise, underpinned by science and technology for sustainable development, takes on the bold and serious fight to combat persistent and menacing diseases in bananas and cacao.”

“It affirms that international cooperation, in particular, recognizing the support of the government of Japan in the program, can resolve global issues and can contribute to the welfare of poor farmers whose livelihood and source of income depend on a successful applied research,” DCM Bolivar added, and emphasized that the signing of the agreement coincides with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Japan.

The Philippines is the largest exporter of bananas in the Asian region (and 2nd to Ecuador in the world). The Philippine cacao, marketed as a health and sustainable food, is also gaining popularity in the global market, with the growing group of Philippine artisanal chocolate or “bean-to-bar” makers.

Both tropical crops are affiliated with each other because small farmers employ banana-cacao intercrop farming system. A major challenge faced by both industries, however, are production losses caused by plant diseases.

The Philippine Embassy supports programs in sustainable agricultural production, to contribute to the food security and resiliency of the Filipinos under the new normal.