Bananas are among the biggest agricultural export commodities of the Philippines. Agriculture Secretary William Dar is apparently starting to worry about a fact that exporters raised three months ago: “We’re losing our market share to other countries”.
Dar has stated that he has already instructed the country’s agricultural attaches based in China, South Korea, and Thailand to monitor the situation closely and thoroughly. He also ordered funding to bankroll efforts to produce banana varieties resistant to fusarium wilt, also known as ‘Panama disease,’ and other development initiatives to further increase the production of quality bananas for both domestic and export markets.
The Department of Agriculture has expressed concerns over the 10-percent decline in the country’s banana exports, saying international trade may be disrupted and Filipinos who depend on the crop could suffer losses if the slide in shipments continues.
During the general assembly of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) last Friday, Dar asked the group about the drop in exports.
Mb.com.ph quoted Dar as saying: “If left unchecked, this will reduce substantially the Philippines’s exports, disrupt trade in the international markets, and cause suffering on banana growers, farmers, workers and their families, which may lead to social unrest.”