Banana growers in Mindanao lose $318M


Cavendish bananas from Mindanao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Philippines, the world’s third largest exporter of bananas, lost a quarter of its crop in Typhoon “Pablo,” an industry group said Thursday, adding that it has also likely spread a destructive pest.

The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association said Pablo would also cost the industry $318 million.

Executive director Stephen Antig said the typhoon destroyed 10,000 hectares of the country’s 42,000 ha of banana farms.

The hurricane-force winds and flash floods flattened wide swathes of the hillsides of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, the center of the industry, he added.

Antig said there were fears that the floods might have spread Panama disease, which prevents the plant from bearing any fruit before eventually killing it.

The bug then renders the affected areas unsuitable for replanting.

About 150,000 people depend on the banana industry in Compostela Valley alone.

The Philippines likely lost P8 billion in ruined harvests and damaged facilities, Antig said, while rehabilitating farms would take several months and likely cost another P5 billion.

It would then take nine months after the replanting to reap the next harvest.

The state census office said the Philippines shipped $471 million worth of the fruit last year—accounting for 1 percent of total exports.

The typhoon is the latest blow to the Philippines’ banana industry, which was embroiled in a row this year with major market China over alleged pests on shipments that left tons of the fruit to rot at Chinese ports.

Antig said the industry was also hit by the international foreign exchange embargo on Iran, and an attack of Panama disease on some plantations.   AFP

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  • Your_King

    This can’t be good news for Aquino. This would mean that he would have to do some actual work to help these areas with their loss. He usually just lets different sectors of the Philippines like the Banana growers fend for themselves. But now with major loses, he will be called upon for assistance. The issue now is does he know what to do in order to assist and support these groups?

    • Michelle Martin

      Banana growers fend for themselves? The Philippines is the third largest banana exporter. I dont think it is a losing industry because people around world will always eat banana because it is rich in potassium. 

      of course PNoy will do what a president should do. Give DSWD more funding as well as employ these people in rebuilding their communities so they can earn salary and at the same time rebuild their home. 

      • Your_King

        You say PNoy will do what a President should do but the thing is he is not. A President is supposed to have initiative and a purpose supported with clear a plan. A President is not a banker or a funder of some sort just there to give money to departments and sectors.

  • The Truth

    The numbers doesn’t mean to make sense..

    We exported $417M last year;
    10,000 Ha Destroyed of the 42,000 Ha. then.. $318M lost?!

    Or, this year we have a substantial increase of production. That’s why even only 10,000 Ha destroyed, we lost $318M. With this, we would still be exporting this year more than $318M x 3 =  $954M.

    Is this correct? Or, you’re just a typical journalist who makes money by payola w/o even knowing what they are reporting.

    • LV

      $417M equates to just the actual revenues of banana exported in one year. Note that the banana produced in Mindanao also partly cater to local consumers, so the $417M is not the full total output from these farms.

      $318M lost will likely include clean up (that otherwise in a normal year, they would not incur as an expense), reestablishment of destroyed banana farms (which require extensive replanting), damaged infrastructure (i.e., equipment, postharvest facilities, storage facilities, etc), and any near to medium term loss of unrealized income since bananas takes time to mature and grow (i.e., they wouldn’t have any income from newly planted bananas for about a year).

      • Alex

        that’s right, it is in fact mentioned in the article, 

        “The Philippines likely lost P8 billion in ruined harvests and damaged facilities, Antig said, while rehabilitating farms would take several months and likely cost another P5 billion.”

        or a total of Php13B and at the current forex rate converts to more or less $318M.

        some people are just too slow to analyze but too quick to accuse.

        with regards to the replanting, it takes about 9 months at the earliest to have the first harvest. but this will still be under recovery phase, not yet normalized, since the younger shoots will also need time to spring out and mature.

  • help_our_country

    Please Do not bend ! Thats the effect of climate change.All we have to do is to continue to export  by finding some other places to grow banana.

    • Michelle Martin

      is it all about climate change or the inefficiency of their local government unit? Much has been said about Compostela Valley tragedy… How come there’s no coverage of Southern Leyte? Bohol? Cebu? Dumaguete? Palawan? Cagayan de Oro? These provinces were also gravely affected by Pablo and yet they dont get as much media coverage.. why? because these places reported no casualty and minimal damage, their LGUs were successful in implementing their evacuation plans. Not everything should be blamed on nature. Human (LGU) inefficiency is also part of the blame.

      But I agree with you we should not bend :) Filipino’s best trait is we are resilient :D Bananas will grow again there next year

  • Michelle Martin

    Instead of merely selling bananas, these people should find other products to manufacture from bananas. That way they can raise their standard of living. Agriculture does not generate wealth as much as manufacturing does. Selling raw materials instead of manufacturing products is not progressive. These people should innovate themselves otherwise they will be stuck in poverty for the rest of their lives. If you look at the richest provinces in the Philippines, namely, Cebu, Davao, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan – these provinces rely not only in agriculture but more so on manufacturing and services sectors. Other provinces should follow suit.

    • Guest

      “Agriculture does not generate wealth as much as manufacturing does.”

      Many idiots here believe, manufacturing is damaging the environment.

      • Felix Alcantara


      • Michelle Martin

        you’re the backward thinking idiot. manufacturing creates more jobs than agriculture. in fact, manufacturing industries like solar panel manufacturers, wind turbine manufacturers, equipments used to build geothermal, hydropower, tidal power plants are all products of manufacturing.

        now tell me, how many jobs does agriculture provide? can you cite a country that became rich by simply plowing fields and catching fishes? None. If you want your country to get rich, move to industrialization where thousands of people can be employed and create value added products.

    • Alex

      while it may be true to some places, it is not applicable to all. i am sure you have never been to compostella valley. most of this place is suited for agriculture.

      on the contrary to your statement, agriculture does create wealth. while it may not give these people more money than what they can get from manufacturing, it has significant effect on the cost of food. what good will it bring if you have more money but food cost is ceiling high? that scenario will only favor china and our rice importers.

      in fact one key to progress is to give enough emphasis to agriculture to bring down the food cost and prevent us from spending much on food that we are also capable of producing.


    ANO na ngayon ang kakainin ng mga UNGGOY sa Kunggrease at Seneyt?

  • Ben

    What China can`t do.. Mother nature can put Mindanao growers to their knees. What is the lesson then? Diversify and grow in different locations, innovate and use technology against wind, insects and floods.

  • Banana Na

    iyak na ako niyan, maraming BANANA ang nasira….

  • Fulpol

    what a disaster…

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