MANILA, Philippines?Banana growers in Mindanao are considering asking the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address Australia?s longstanding resistance to the entry of cavendish bananas from the Philippines, according to an industry group.
The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said in a statement that banana growers have not succeeded in getting the Australian authorities to allow the entry of their produce in that market, apparently due to the strong lobby of banana producers in that country.
Local banana growers filed their application for the export of cavendish banana into the Australian market as early as 1995, noting that country?s proximity to the Philippines and the attractive price in that market.
Australia imposes strict requirements for the entry of agricultural products, thus many countries have failed to get their produce into the lucrative Australian market.
Years of discussions since 2002, when an Australian draft report said bananas from the Philippines should not be permitted due to disease risks, have not yielded much progress, prompting local banana growers to explore getting WTO?s help.
The Australian banana market is estimated to be worth $50 million annually. Australian production is 270,000 tons a year, small compared to the Philippines? banana production of 2.1 million metric tons a year.