Lambunao, Iloilo is putting the spotlight on bananas and its value-added products during the “Banana O’clock” event. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has tagged banana as the One Town, One Product (OTOP) of Lambunao, and the Local Economic Development and Investments Promotion (LEDIP) officer, Arlene Lavilla, said the event aims to awaken public interest in banana and its various uses.
The two-day event, which will be held on March 24-25, will feature a “Lambanana cooking contest” showcasing appetizers, main courses, and desserts made primarily from bananas. The event will also offer banana produce for sale throughout the Wow Lambunao Nights.
With 3,423 farmers engaged in planting bananas on 810 hectares, the “lakatan” variety is the focus of the OTOP program. However, the banana industry was dealt a blow when the bunchy top disease hit the region. Despite this setback, the industry continues to flourish with the showcase of other varieties during the event, such as saba and latundan.
The event is part of DTI’s priority stimulus program for micro, small and medium enterprises to drive inclusive local economic growth. The LEDIP officer is optimistic that this event is just the beginning of a series of activities that will further popularize banana and provide assistance to local farmers.
The Banana O’clock event is a big help to the industry, particularly in finding a market for their products. Currently, the farm gate price of lakatan ranges from P25 to P30 per kilo, saba is at P10 to P13 a kilo, and latundan is P18 to P22 per kilo depending on demand. The event is expected to revive the banana industry and make it more popular among locals and tourists alike.