Aquino: Look for other banana markets


President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. MALACANANG PHOTO

DAVAO CITY—President Benigno Aquino on Monday told banana exporters reeling from the stringent rules imposed on their product by China not to put their eggs in one basket and to diversify their markets.

“Last year, we had a similar problem with banana exporters who exported 30 percent of their produce to one country. We told them to diversify their market, dagdagan pa para di matatali sa isang bansa (increase their market so as not be tied to one country),” the President told reporters during a press briefing at Grand Regal Hotel, where he was the guest at the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) people’s organizations’ congress.

He said the government was  doing its best to settle the issue with Chinese authorities, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) sending a team of experts to China this week to witness the opening of roughly 1,500 containers of Cavendish bananas being held in at least three Chinese ports allegedly due to pest infestation.

The Philippines is also inviting Chinese experts to come to the country to see for themselves the strict sanitary rules observed by banana exporters at the plant level.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who had a meeting with banana exporters later in the afternoon, said the President’s advice was the best the government could come up although it was doing its best to settle the problem diplomatically with China.

Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), a big banana exporters group, warned that a collapse of the Chinese market could have a severe impact on the industry which employs over a million people in Mindanao.

The Mindanao Banana Farmers Exporters Association (MBFEA), composed of small banana exporters in Mindanao, signed a manifesto asking President Aquino “to do everything” in his power to “save the banana industry.”

But China may just be “pestering” the Philippines when it barred the entry of shipments of bananas due to scale insect infestation, agriculture officials said Monday.

Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Clarito Baron said the pest identified by China did not occur in bananas.

Baron said Chinese authorities informed the Philippines on  March 5, a month before the feud over Panatag Shoal flared up, that the bananas from the plantations in Mindanao were contaminated with pests.

To settle the matter, Alcala Monday said Baron and two BPI staffers will go to China to check the stranded banana exports and validate the suspicion of contamination.

“They will have credentials so that they can open the export shipments,” Alcala said in a press briefing at the people’s organizations congress.

The BPI chief also said they would send a shipment of bananas from Davao to Beijing in time for their inspection this week. “We will let them open it so that they can see that our bananas are clean,” Baron said.

Beijing wants Manila to conduct a quarantine inspection of all the containers. Before March 5, Beijing was content with random inspections of banana exports, Baron said.

The Philippines is one of the world’s top banana exporters, utilizing some 80,000 hectares of land in Mindanao for banana production.

The country is the number one exporter of bananas to Japan, South Korea, China and New Zealand, making the fruit one of the country’s top dollar earners. In 2010, total export earnings for fresh Cavendish banana was pegged at $720 million.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Phil

    parang nabasa yung isa sa mga suggestions ko 3 days ago he eh he

  • Kayang

    What a bright president we have….realy astonishing. No need to talk the losses for the containers  held by China.

    • joshep77

      brilliant president. it only shows how he understood the situation. very easy solution for him.

    • joshep77

      galing galing. plesidente natin. 

    • joshep77

      galing galing plesidente. talo si plesident elap

  • Ben

    The Philippine exporters must level up, instead of being stressed out of getting restricted. Diversify to other countries who will eat bananas, instead of selling raw in its natural form low priced bananas, sell the banana in a processed ones such as the  banana peelings for feeds for chickens or pigs, banana catchups, banana wine, banana processed as Ethanol in support of fuel independence program of the government etc. There are so many useful uses ofr banana, not just in their raw form. Exporters must research and develop ways and other uses for bananas and you can be assured of wide ranging products for exports or in support of our own domestic fuel needs.

    China can never bring us down, since they are not our major trading partner and they do not have a say in the international arena to form any coalition of forces to impose economic sanctions on us…their effort is just a temporary sting, other free world countries are ready and open arms to accept our products and in support of our principled fight.

    China`s economic sanction will never succeed just as long the world is not under China`s influence…only the US has the power to form coalition to impose economic sanction to a given country…and that is actually being used against China when it comes to high technology. They are banned to have one.

    • Noynoy8is8inutil

       easier said!!!!

    • IsipMuna

      sabi PNoy hanap iba market.. di naman sabi allocate pondo and help the farmers.. ni hindi nga sinabi ni PNoy na tutulong sya maghanap market for the farmers

      • Ben

        Concrete minds can only find concrete solutions, don`t feed a man and let us see what he will do. Will he just lie down and wait for his fate like Juan tamad for the bananas to fall into his mouth hehe, or do the Juan masipag and look for ways to get that banana without waiting? The farmers are for planting, the exporters can find new markets and the researchers such as in DTI, DOST or DA can help the farmers and exporters to widen their product choices.

  • dennis

    I support this decision by our President!!!…Makatao…Makabayan…at para sa bansang Pilipinas!

    • R

       at maka-bananan

    • sigena

      sige ship nyo lahat na hindi mabenta sa malacanang at magsama kayo ni pnoy onggoy sa pag ubos ng saging. China na supply na rin ng banana dito sa abroad.

      • SoulEdge

        hehehehe…ayaw mo ng magandang suggestion.

      • dennis

        Kung ikaw ang Presidente ng Pilipinas eh malamang wala kang gagawin? Hahayaan mo na lang bang mabulok ang mga produkto ng Pilipinas ng ganun na lang,gaya ng takbo ng utak mo na mas bulok pa sa saging?

      • sigena

        si abnoy may ginawa na ba?

        From: Disqus
        Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 12:34 AM
        Subject: [inq-newsinfo] Re: Aquino: Look for other banana markets

        Disqus generic email template

        dennis wrote, in response to sigena:
        Kung ikaw ang Presidente ng Pilipinas eh malamang wala kang gagawin? Hahayaan mo na lang bang mabulok ang mga produkto ng Pilipinas ng ganun na lang,gaya ng takbo ng utak mo na mas bulok pa sa saging? Link to comment

  • Marcos5

    China acting like a spoiled brat in world’s affairs.  The Japanese government learned not to trust the PRC after they started holding rare earth minerals to Japan 2 years ago. Now the Japanese are diversifying it’s eggs to the Philippines and Vietnam.

    Those rare earth minerals are being smuggled out of the Philippines to China. The Philippines can make china bleed by clamping down on mining firms and cracking down on fake mining entities since corrupt local  officials are benefiting from it not the government and the people.

    I say award mining firms to the Japanese and they will help us on transfer of technology power sector, farming equipments agriculture  to surplus acquisition of military defense material  for the AFP.

  • Concerned Citizen

    This is the way to go.  You have the support of the Filipino people here.   Forget the impeachment first and know what the people is trying to tell you.

  • Bart Simpson

    well we can’t trade banana for our sovereignty right? 

  • kulkat8

    IS CHINA’S ECONOMIC RISE IS AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERY OTHER ECONOMIES?   This is the subject of debate by some western economists.  Some agree that it is and some disagree.  For me China’s economic rise is the main reason why economies of many countries is suffering.  China’s refusal to stop keeping their yuan artificially low is the reason why it is very hard for the manufacturing sector of most countries to compete with China’s manufacturing sector.  It is up now to consumers around the world if they will continue to buy cheap Chinese made products while at the sametime making jobs to disaapeare in their respective countries.

  • Asean

    Ang dali at galing magsalita ni Pnoy…..sabagay walang nawala sa kanyang bulsa… Tulungan mo banana producers. Hindi puros dakdak. 

  • Asean

    China is on the move towards trade war with us…… Philippine Government konting reality check ka nga! Hello! Go back to the drawing board. What’s happening is just the beginning of many incoming trade conflicts with Expansionist China. Don’t be surprised if China will invade our very land and other neighboring countries sooner or later. Mga halang ang bituka nyan.

  • Asean

    Hello Philippine GOVERNMENT! Ang issue iipitin tayo ng intsik kahit pinaka mahusay ang saging pinoy, dahil sa gulo ngayon…. Kaya tulungan nyo ang banana industry humanap ng alternate market. Hindi makakalusot sa China kahit walang dumi yan. Tama na yang sisi at turuan….Susunod diyan ibang industriya ang iipitin ng China, kaya humanda ka Philippine Government. Gumawa ka na ng ibang hakbang at plano….

  • Jon

    Habang puro ngawa si Pwehnoy…
    Nabubulok ang mga saging sa mga bodega.
    Paano na yung kapital ng mga magsasakang naapektuhan?
    Tiis tiis na lang kayo at walang malsakit ang pamahalaan ninyo.
    Kawawa talaga ang Mindanao sa administrasyong ito.
    Napapabayaan, nangungulelat, at isinsantabi na lang.

  • Eagle from Davao

    The least that the president can do ,is to provide low interest and soft loan to the banana planters and give them tax reprieve for two years so they can recover on their losses. And also extend micro-loans to families affected by this problem to have additional source of income.

    I am also a dabaweno and it hurts that your relatives suffers.

  • Go

    AbNoy looks happy talking about bananas :), he must have something big going on his mind ….

  • Guest

    kulkat8 tama ka and at the same time china is poisoning the consumers by putting high contents of lead and mercury chemicals that can cause cancer to their exported goods. Dami sa dvsoria

  • Diana

    I find Ben’s comment the most reasonable, very well-thought of, sensible, and certainly, the most constructive. The rest are words of people who only want to write in this box but really have nothing good, nothing constructive, nothing sensible to say, unthinking. If you were the president, what would you heve done? If you tried to answer this ‘silent question’, your comments would have been more reasonable. So go back to your boxes and answer that rather than call people names. Also, go look at yourself in the mirror before you remark negatively on others.

    Lesson for exporters, banana or what not, “don’t put your eggs in just one basket.”

    And hey China, we certainly are not like you. When we export, we give the BEST QUALITY, which is very unlike you – you who turn out RUBBISH, CHEAP, ADULTERATED, TOXIC CHINESE GOODS which may never have seen quality control at all. C’mon! Give us a break. We’ve had enough of your foolishness!

    Divisoria merchants of these NO-QUALITY Chinese goods, make the ultimate sacrifice of ditching those. You’re just funding China’s expansionist moves and we’ll soon find our homeland a Chinese territory. Would you like to become spitting Chinese? DISGUSTING!

  • Diana

    Well, there are a lot of sensible comments, too: Marcos5, Eagle from Davao, Kulkat8…I didn’t go further down. The rest, think before you jot. You’re making such noise but nothing good to say – that’ why it’s just horrible noise that you do. Masakit sa tenga!

  • RobertoMagtuytoy

    Ibalik dito sa Pinas yung 1,500 containers at gawing BANANA SAUCE.

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