Bananas have been grown in Talakag, Bukidnon for a very long time either for consumption by farmers or for sale in the local markets. They constitute a major staple food for Filipinos. Depending on the variety, they can be eaten fresh, boiled, fried, barbecued, chipped or baked.
Nowadays, the Cavendish variety of bananas are grown big time in Talakag by Del Monte and Dole (and their partners) for export as they are among the most widely consumed foods in the world. When you pass the barrio roads of San Isidro, San Antonio and Sto Nino now, you can see so many bananas planted as far as your eyes can see.
According to scientific research, a banana is known to give an instant boost of energy. It is also known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. No wonder that the “simple living, bisag saging, basta loving” is a famous quote that many families often use when confronted by the hardships of poverty. It is indeed remarkable how far some families are prepared to live on bananas alone as long as they have love.
However, the need to go for such extreme sacrifices is now history since the arrival of Del Monte and Dole have provided employment for many residents of Talakag. Some locals have even found other enterprising ways of augmenting their income by utilising reject bananas. Along the roadside between Talakag and Cagayan de Oro City, a common sight now would be the groups of men, women and children slicing bananas into chips and drying them under the sun, which are then sold on to be made into fertilizers and animal feeds. Hey, isn’t that great?
On the other hand, there are others who have mixed feelings about such big scale banana farming in Talakag. They are concerned about what future relative effects the strong chemicals in fertilisers and pesticides being used might bring to the workers and the families who live beside the plantations, to the nearby streams, rivers and wildlife, and to small-scale farmers around.
So what does the future hold for Talakag? As landowners have leased their land to Del Monte and Dole for as long as 15-25 years - we'll just have to wait and see...