Campaign for banana-eating Japs launched

Aug. 06, 2018

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Environment groups here launched an ethical banana campaign to enhance the awareness of Japanese consumers on the environmental and social effects of producing bananas.

Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) executive director Chinkee Peliño-Golle, said that a lot of Japanese are consuming bananas without knowing how these are being produced and who are those behind the production of these export products.

Golle said Mindanao big banana plantations and other organic banana suppliers produce 30 percent of the entire consumption of Japanese people.

The IDIS campaign is focusing on challenging Japanese to consume ethical bananas produced by companies which do not contribute to more environmental degradation and promote social justice.

Golle said IDIS will conduct a study on the environmental hazards and follow up monitoring for the best agricultural practices of banana plantations in the regions.

“When we say ethical banana campaign, we are talking of good quality, how it is produced, and the application of pesticides and the consideration of environmental protection,” said Golle.

Golle also said that part of the consideration for the ethical banana campaign is the basic rights of the banana workers producing bananas for Japan.

Atty. Irvin Sagarino of the Initiatives for Dialogue through Empowerment and Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) said that the campaign does not only further the interest of the banana companies but also to the interest of the banana workers.

“We are pushing for the companies to somehow look into the interests of the banana workers not only in the production of good bananas promoting, healthy environment and promoting healthy relationship but also to take good care of the welfare of the banana workers when it comes to their productivity and profitability,” said Atty. Sagarino

Though the campaign highlights the banana workers’ welfare, Atty. Sagarino clarified that the campaign does not focus on the labor issues between the companies and its workers as it is happening in many banana plantations in Mindanao.

Golle said the multinational Japanese corporation Sumitomo Fruits Corporation (SUMIFRU) use the banned aerial spray method which pose hazardous effects such as increasing toxic exposure for people and the environment.

In 2016 The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed 2009 Court of Appeals (CA) decision declaring the Ordinance No. 0309-07 or “An Ordinance Banning Aerial Spraying as an Agricultural Practice in All Agricultural Activities by All Agricultural Entities in Davao City” as unconstitutional which banned aerial spraying as an agricultural practice.

The High Court said Davao City must not act arbitrarily, whimsically or despotically regardless of the ordinance’s salutary purpose. The SC said 3 months would be inadequate time for the city to shift from aerial to truck-mounted boom spraying, effectively depriving the city an efficient means to combat the disease.

Both Golle and Atty. Sagarino went to Japan and partnered with the Pacific Asia Resource Center and Alternative People Linkage in Asia to present scorecards of banana companies who do not have an ethical banana practice.

Atty. Sagarino said that their partner organizations committed to helping the ethical campaign reach the 3-5 million Japanese consumers in advocating banana companies with ethical banana production and challenge banana companies in the country to abide the ethical standards of producing banana in the market. (

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