Banana growers seek gov’t help in Compostela Valley
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Small banana growers still recovering from Typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) in Compostela Valley province have sought the government’s help in the pricing of bananas, which, they said, were being bought at an unusually low price compared to the prevailing one in the world market.
Export companies were still buying bananas at the 2001 buying price of $2.60 per box, said Sonny Manigo, vice president for external affairs of the Federation of Compostela Valley Banana Growers Association and Cooperatives. Prices in the world market have already reached $9 to $11 per box.
“We are all victims here and we are still trying to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Pablo,” Manigo told Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during his dialogue with banana growers and exporters in Nabunturan town, Compostela Valley, on Thursday.
“We’re asking the government to help us achieve a ‘conscientious’ price for our bananas from exporters,” Manigo said.
Pablo swept through Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental in December 2012, killing more than 600 people and causing widespread destruction in Mindanao.
Manigo said most of the small growers had been forced to sign contracts with banana exporters at the old price because they were desperate following the devastation brought by the typhoon. Now they were hoping that the government could do something to allow them sell their bananas at a “justifiable price” to help their families recover, he added.
“We have no one to turn to except the government,” Manigo said.
A representative from Sumifru, one of the major banana buyers and exporters in the province, said during the forum that the company was already buying bananas at $3 to $3.36 per box. But Manigo, a Sumifru banana grower, said the deal was not yet formalized and that the company was still buying at the 2001 level of $2.36.
Alcala said he was going to look into the problem of the small banana growers.
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