According to numbers from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the nation’s banana exports totaled 3.593 million tons in the first 10 months of 2019, up nearly 41% from a year earlier. Preliminary PSA data says that banana exports rose 40.79% year-on-year. In October, exports totaled 408,060 tons. The 10-month total was close to the record 3.631 million tons in the same period of 2014.
Top markets for Philippine bananas include Japan, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. China accounted for the largest share with 1.288 million tons, up 42%, year-on-year. Japan took in 1.169 million tons, up 47, year-on-year, and South Korea 461,736 tons, up 40% year-on-year.
Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) Executive Director Stephen A. Antig said for the major plantation firms which his organization represents, exports are actually on a downtrend year-on-year.
“In the case of the PBGEA members, volume for the last 9 months decreased by 8% compared to that of 2018. If the trend continues, total exports might be just about 110 million boxes by the end of the year. All told, this is not a good year for the industry,” he told bworldonline.com, noting that 110 million boxes is equivalent to 1.4 million tons, solely of the Cavendish variety. Top markets are Japan, South Korea, China, the Middle East, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mongolia and the United States. He said the industry is beset by climate change, pests and diseases, drought, and flooding.
Banana growers are also pushing the government to intervene to lower South Korean and Japanese tariffs, which risk eroding the Philippines’ market share in those countries. Philippine banana exports are levied a 30% tariff by South Korea and 8% to 18% by Japan. The industry’s target tariff for South Korea is 5% at most, a level it reckons will help the industry grow.