Philippines, one of the most badly hit countries by COVID-19 pandemic across Asia, may see a decline in banana exports moving forward. Some blame the government, saying it failed to contain the deadly and highly contagious virus.
Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) President Victor S. Mercado, Jr. said in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday that there’s a risk that China, the current biggest export market for Philippine’s Cavendish banana, may prefer to source its supply of the yellow fruit from Vietnam and Cambodia in the next months because these countries have fewer COVID-19 cases.
China, which is where the COVID-19 pandemic started, has already started implementing strict quarantine protocols even for imported products entering its borders. As of Wednesday, the Philippines has around 48,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while Vietnam has less than 400 and Cambodia has less than 200.
This, among many other factors, will contribute to the expected decline in the country’s banana exports and production for this year, Mercado, who is also the president and chief operating officer of Marsman-Drysdale Agri-business Group, said.
To be specific, members of PBGEA, which contributes more than 50 percent of the country’s total banana production, is expecting banana exports to decline by 20 percent this year from 195 million boxes, which has a total value of US$1.93 billion, in 2019 to 162 million boxes with export value of around US$1.53 billion.