Philippines losing US$16M in bananas from Chinese reef dispute
Kidapawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ramon Floresta, told the newspaper 1,000 containers of bananas landed in Beijing and Shanghai last week, while 800 more containers were in transit.
“The Mindanao plantation owners and farmers urge President Benigno Aquino III to immediately intervene and fast-track the settlement of the dispute,” he was quoted as saying.
“Chinese traders have stopped buying bananas and pineapples from us. With firm resolve, the standoff can be settled diplomatically.
“The Philippine government has to do it fast. The products are being made to rot in China’s ports and we shoulder the huge losses. The freight alone costs US$1,200 per container.”
He said China accounts for 30% of the Philippines’ banana production with shipments three times a month.
Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association group president Steve Antig said more stringent Chinese quarantine measures could jeopardize the US$110 million industry, the story reported.
“This will greatly affect the local banana industry. Not just exporters like us but people on the ground, those who work in the farm and their families,” he was quoted as saying.
Floresta said Chinese traders had been told the blockade was called due to pork and chicken import restrictions in the Philippines.
Abono chairman and Swine Development Council director Rosendo So told the newspaper these restrictions were placed well before the standoff due to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in China.