Philippine banana industry losing US$2.8M per week
A Philippine banana association claims growers and exporters are losing up to PHP120 million (US$2.8 million) per week due to strict quarantine measures placed by China and export declines to other markets, news agency Inquirer Mindanao reported.
Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association (Mbfea) president Rene Dalayon, said in addition to China turning away shipments due to its new standards, European buyers were asking for lower prices.
He said a 20-30% discount in Europe would mean Philippine growers cannot cover their costs.
Many growers have stopped producing or have changed crops to cacao or coconuts, with the issue impacting on people's way of life in Mindanao, the story reported.
"We are really affected. In fact, I went to the fiesta in Kapalong (Davao del Norte) and there were only a few people. Usually during fiesta, the road is full of people celebrating the fiesta," Dalayon was quoted as saying.
Department of Agriculture (DA) coordinator for high-value crops Melanie Provido, told the Inquirer the government was bullish on the banana industry's potential and had slated PHP100 million (US$2.4 million) for upgrading 14 packhouses.
"Despite some problems, we are helping farmers to expand the area. We are addressing the problems such as raising the quality control for bananas," she was quoted as saying.
Provido told the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation there had been some setbacks but no major losses, although profits may have decreased for some shippers.
"China, which is just one of the banana-importing countries, has never closed its market to the Philippines but it has upgraded its quality standards. In the previous years we delivered the B and C (classification of) banana," she told the publishing house.
"Now they would like to import those with same banana quality which we export to Japan."
Related story: Philippines looks to new banana markets amid Chinese debacle