The Madre de Cacao tree is well-known in tropical regions like the Philippines for its usage as a fence, food for some farm animals, firewood, soil fertilizer, and pest-rat poison. It is also used in medicine and to repel pests and insects.
MASIPAG farmers recognized the full potential of Madre de Cacao to solve their problems on their farms. One example is the use of Madre de Cacao to prevent bugtok or tigbanol, a banana tree disease caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas solanacearum, discovered by MASIPAG farmer Mameluz Jayme from Mindanao.
Mameluz, also known as “Nay Luz,” is a farmer from Tulunan’s Sitio New Alimodian Farmers Association (SNAFA) who is well-known for her banana farm and banana chips products. Nay Luz’ decade-long banana farming experience led to her keen observation both in diagnosing and remedying some of her banana plants.
These are Nay Luz’ observations in diagnosing that her banana tree is infected with Bugtok :
- The leaves of the banana tree are yellowing and decaying;
- Brown staining on the body of the banana (pseudo stem) and the fruit/flower stem (fruit peduncle);
- Fruit flesh darkening ranging from reddish to black;
- Asynchronous fruit ripening; and,
- Male flowers did not separate and leave appeared to cover even after drying.
How to avoid bugtok by using Madre de Cacao?
- Take a 20-inch-long, 1-inch-thick branch of Madre de cacao.
- Insert the branch of Madre de cacao into the banana tree’s body. Make sure that the insertion will do the least amount of harm to the body of the banana tree
- Keep it inserted to avoid the recurrence of the Bugtok
Madre de Cacao’s effect on banana trees:
- The banana tree with the inserted Madre de Cacao showed no signs of fruit rash.
- Despite the fact that the bacterium attacked the plant, it did not spread to the tree’s surface and is only contained within the area where the Madre de Cacao is inserted.
- The infection can be observed under the perforated area of the banana body.
- A strong odor coming from the area where the Madre de Cacao is inserted can be noticed.
- Once the bacterium has reached and infected the banana leaf, the effects of the inserted Madre de Cacao are no longer potent to contain the infection. .
Time and time again, our local farms have proven to be rich in resources to achieve sustainable farming. If we do not consider and explore these resources, we will never know their full potential and usage. As seen by the experience of Nay Luz with the Madre de Cacao, we can sustainably solve our agricultural problems by utilizing things that are free, inexpensive, and exclusively available in our yard. At a time when chemical farming practices are becoming the mainstay of most farmers, it is critical for farmers to share this information with their fellow farmers in order to ensure sustainable and safe agricultural methods. This new knowledge demonstrates that Madre de Cacao is not simply a fence on our farm, but also a fence for our sustainable food security.