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Philippines: City’s banana growers expect production to lower by 14 percent

Banana producers in the city have expected their yield to go down by as much as 14 percent due to diseases and peso strengthening. Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, said that black sigatoka has hit some banana farms in the city.

Black Sigatoka, is a disease on the banana leaves that can cut the production in half as it is caused by a fungus that can be spread from tree to tree by wind. It was discovered in 1963 in Sigatoka Valley, Fiji.

Antig said production will start declining by the last quarter of this year until next year. This is because although the last quarter of the year is usually the peak of the production, this year, the increase will not be as much as last year, he added.

Last year, banana exporters in the city delivered 130 million boxes of banana at 13.5 kilograms a box. To preempt the decline in production considering that “we have to deliver a specific number of boxes (of bananas),” some banana growers have expanded heir farms to augment their production, Antig added.

Most banana growers signed contracts with buyers at the start of the year, stating their production goal and the prices of the product. The problem is that those who have to borrow money for their expansion has been hit by the strengthening of the peso, while others have to generate fund internally, he added.

Antig explained that banana growers have also been reeling from the effect of the strengthening peso which has reached a 45 to a dollar level from about 55 to a dollar, the level that most of them used in preparing their budget for the year.

Antig said the expected decline in production has resulted in the proliferation of fly-by-night buyers offering prices higher than those stated in contracts with legitimate buyers. “That is why theft cases in banana farms have been very high, he said.


Publication date: 10/2/2007


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