Davao-based banana exporter secures P1-B loan
Davao City-based Unifrutti Tropical Philippines Inc. will develop an additional 700 hectares of land in Mindanao to increase its Cavendish banana exports.
In a statement, Unifrutti Tropical Philippines president and chief executive Alberto F. Bacani said the company last week signed a $19-million (about P1.045-billion) loan agreement with state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to finance the expansion.
“We have identified areas in Davao del Sur and Bukidnon whose local governments and landowners have expressed full willingness to work with us,” Bacani said.
“The soon-to-be-developed banana farms have satisfied Unifrutti’s key parameters for soil fertility, access to water for irrigation, proximity to national road networks and proper land documentation,” he added.
The loan secured by Unifrutti Tropical Philippines is the biggest banana farm development finance deal green-lighted by the DBP to date.
According to Bacani, the DBP also “indicated continued financing for future expansion if the pilot farms prove to be successful.”
The fourth biggest banana exporter in the country, Unifrutti Tropical Philippines currently grows fruits across 1,200 hectares of corporate farms on top of 5,000 hectares of contract growers.
Unifrutti Tropical Philippines’ bananas are being exported to China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East.
Citing a preliminary market review report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), Bacani said the Philippines’ banana exports last year were projected to have reached a record 2.95 million metric tons, eclipsing 2017’s 1.66 million MT.
The country’s robust banana exports were attributed by Bacani, who also chairs the industry group Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association Inc., to “improved shipment performance to significant investments in area expansion, new technologies and improved inputs.”
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