The Philipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) has called on the government to provide more assistance to the banana industry amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) scare. The virus has led to Chinese buyers halting their fruit orders.
Since 2018, China has become the biggest buyer of homegrown bananas and was considered as the biggest market among Filipino banana exporters. PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig said they are hopeful for more interventions since the industry has placed Mindanao in the world map and was now eventually threatened by the Covid-19.
“This is our most common complaint, we hope that they will extend more assistance to this industry because the Philippines was known as a producer of world-class quality Cavendish bananas,” he said.
He also added that if the Covid-19 scare would last for a year, the country would face problems of unemployment since millions have relied on the banana industry.
“I don’t want to think about it because I will be very worried if it would last for a year. Millions will lose their jobs and our government will be affected because these people [banana growers] will not be able to pay taxes,” Antig said.
Antig explained that small banana growers are the most affected of the Covid-19 scare since they mostly sell their products to the China market. He added that the said Chinese buyers started canceling orders as early as February after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an outbreak on Covid-19.