Home-grown bananas, the country’s top agricultural export crop, may be losing their share in the world market due to a range of issues ranging from high tariffs, plant infections, rising competition and an aggressive, government-subsidized foray by Latin American producers into traditional Philippine markets.
For one, banana exporters have sounded the alarm over the looming threat of a shrinking share in the Chinese market due to rising competition with Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Cambodia, which have also started to “pirate” local industry experts to develop their plantations.
At a recent virtual briefing, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) chairman Alberto Paterno F. Bacani said the rise in banana exports from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to China is one of the “biggest threats” to the country’s top banana market.
Bacani explained that these three countries, which are close to China, enjoy logistical advantages as they can transport banana shipments via land through trucks. They also have vast idle tracts of fields compared to the Philippines.
Worse, Bacani disclosed that they discovered that Chinese banana companies in Vietnam and Cambodia were already “pirating” Filipino banana experts to develop their produce with high incentives such as better pay.