Banana industry ends
year in bad shape; sees challenging year ahead
DAVAO CITY, Dec. 26 (PNA) -- The year 2015 is not a good year for the
banana industry as stakeholders hardly recovered from losses due to
unresolved problems. Industry leaders even anticipate a carryover of the
difficulties into 2016.
This was expressed by Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA)
executive director Stephen Antig, who said 2016 could even be a bleak year
for the banana industry if problems continue unresolved.
He mentioned Panama disease that continues to wreak havoc on the banana
farms and it has never been contained even with the development of resistant
variety of Cavendish banana. He said it has not been perfected as yet.
He said if they can produce the disease resistant variety “we still have to
find out if it will be accepted in the market”. “Definitely there will be a
change in the taste,” he added.
While they teamed up with the Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and
Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and the Southern
Philippines Agri-business and Marine Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST)
in developing such variety, Antig said it takes several years and the
process will take 10 to 15 years before it can be released to the market.
He said there were PBGEA member-companies that undertake Research and
Development costing to some Php 200 million for the development of Panama
disease management program. It includes set of packages. He disclosed that
in 2016 it will already be on stage 3 of the set of packages.
In fact, Antig said they were in the process of conducting a study on the
Development of an Integrated Management Program of Fusarium Wilt Diseases
affecting Cavendish banana in their laboratory in Lapoy, Mandug, this city.
He said a field trial area of about 10 hectares is covered for the study.
Antig also voiced concern over prospect of sustaining their market. "We are
losing our market" considering that other countries Vietnam, Thailand,
Indonesia, Mayanmar, Cambodia have been aggressive in their production and
also selling their produce to their main market - China and Japan. Ecuador
and other Latin American countries, he said were also competing with their
He said they foresee a banana world war in the market and a big disadvantage
since production cost is much higher than their competitors.
In 2014, the banana export volume in boxes reached 90,147,480 from January
to September and decreased to 85,324,491 for the same period this year.
Antig also voiced concern on the possible impact of El Nino, which the
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration
(PAGASA) pronounced would extend until June 2016. “If farms are hit by this
weather pattern its effect will be felt three months after that is until
September of next year thus making it harder for the industry to recover,”
Meanwhile, Antig reported that big plantation companies operating here are
now in the process of developing banana farms in countries like Sri Lanka,
India, Vietnam and Taiwan.
"This is in preparation for their next move if they see that it is no longer
viable to operate a plantation here in the Philippines," he said.
Currently, the total area planted to exportable banana is 42,316.41 hectares
which is smaller from 2014 with a total area of 44,479.65 hectares or a
difference of 2,163.24 hectares. (PNA)