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Philippines: Banana industry losing millions as China tightens regs

Banana exports are down by $4,000,000, since March 5th when China imposed stricter regulations on shipments of Filipino bananas.

There are estimated to be a minimum of 1,500 container vans full of bananas being held for inspection in Chinese ports, according to the Philippine Bananas Growers and Exporters Association.

PBGEA president Stephen Antig said that, under the new quality measures, if a single insect/mealy bug is found in a box, the whole container will be rejected and will be sent back to its origin or the Chinese government will dispose of the fruit.

Mindanao exporters, including small banana farmers, have been shipping more than 600 40-footer container vans containing a total of 924,000 boxes per week. Each container van has around 1,540 boxes.

Antig said Beijing Customs Inspection and Quarantine has already banned the entry of container vans from 41 exporters after insects had been found.

He said the China had given the exporters until June 1st to comply with new requirements, which include improving packing facilities.

Abtig said that the bigger companies would be OK, but his concerns were for the small producers. &0% of Filipino bananas go to China, 35% of which originate with smaller producers.

There are concerns that the tightening of regulations is aimed at the dispute over the Scarborough shoal islands.

"We are being bullied," Antig said.

Antig requested representatives from Department of Agriculture, Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Finance, among others, to meet with their counterparts in China and discuss the problem.

He pointed out that there were no alternatives to trading with China.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

Publication date: 5/11/2012


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