DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Banana industry players reiterate their call to create a Philippine Banana Industry Council and Banana Research and Development Center saying it will benefit local growers and boost the region’s banana industry.
According to Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) Executive Director Stephen Antig, having this research center can provide scientific and technical research in Mindanao to promote more diverse processes in banana production.
“We want a facility that we envision that can compete with the laboratories of the other banana producing countries. This facility can produce tissue culture and development of new varieties that are resistant to pest and diseases,” said Antig.
Antig said this facility will benefit small banana growers who cannot put up a facility by enhancing their production to be competitive and accessible to the global market.
The facility is estimated to cost P500 million in construction, said Antig.
The proposal, however, is taking long as Congress failed to support their bill to approve the building of the facility and source its funding.
The bill, Philippine Comprehensive Banana Act 2017, was endorsed by the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) 11, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and local government units.
Antig said their proposal is now refiled at Congress.
This proposal was supported by President Rodrigo Duterte during the National Banana Congress in 2016.
Fresh banana production ranks fifth in the nation’s exports, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. It has a 57.3 percent growth rate in sales in the first half of this year with P 983.740 million from P 624,560 million last year in the same period.
The banana industry has a 503,058 workforce covering 247,407 hectares in Mindanao, with Davao Region leading in production.
China corners a big chunk of the export with a 70.4 percent increase in consumption noted this year.
A recent people-to-people cooperation signed between the Davao City local government and the People’s Republic of China affirmed the latter’s commitment to open their market for bananas and other tropic and aquaculture products from Davao.
Other markets for Philippine bananas include Japan, Korean and the Middle East. (davaotoday.com)