Agri dept paints rosy outlook for PH banana industry
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture said the outlook for Philippine bananas remains rosy despite the current row with China over its more stringent standards and the ban on exports to Iran, primarily because of the expansion of the markets in at least five countries, including two in Europe.
Constancio Maghanoy, DA director for Southern Mindanao, said at the opening of the two-day First Mindanao Banana Congress here on Wednesday that Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Pakistan and Mongolia have agreed to take in more Philippine Cavendish bananas.
Maghanoy did not specify the volume of exports to these countries but said they helped cushion the impact of the phytosanitary row with China and the ban on the export of commodities, including bananas, to Iran.
Along with Japan and South Korea, China and Iran were the largest markets for Philippine bananas, accounting for 76 percent of the total export volume.
Maghanoy said despite the latest “hiccups” in the industry, banana exports reached 2.8 million metric tons as of the third quarter 2012, surpassing the 2 million tons recorded for the whole of 2011.
Maghanoy said starting next year, Philippine bananas will also be exported to the United States.
He reminded growers not to be complacent though and encouraged them continue to enhance the quality of their products.
“The future prosperity of our banana industry will largely depend on our ability to guarantee the quality and safety of our products,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maghanoy said, the government has taken steps to combat fly-by-night exporters willing to compromise the quality of their bananas in exchange for satisfying demand.
“DA has already instructed the Bureau of Plant Industry’s Plant Quarantine Service to strictly implement protocols for accreditation of banana exporters,” he said.
He said PQS personnel will also continuously monitor production areas to make sure that only traders with validated export volumes will be allowed to send out their products.
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