The country’s largest business group, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), is calling on the federal government to diversify the local banana industry in order to keep up with an increasingly competitive global market.
PCCI director Roberto Amores said the development and growth of agriculture in the country, in general, is very slow and almost stagnating, urging the government to accelerate its modernization and industrialization programs for the sector to cope with the growing market competition.
The Philippines is one of the top exporters of Cavendish bananas in the world, but is now losing in the banana export war amid continued stiff competition in the global market. Among the challenges of the industry include the damaging Panama disease or fusarium wilt affecting banana farms and plantations in Mindanao.
Philstar.com quoted Amores as saying: “Our production has also been decreasing due to very strong competition with Ecuador. And now, we have the new entrance of Cambodia and Vietnam who are producing exactly the same variety and quality at a much lower price.”
The Philippines is also being slapped with a high 30 percent tariff in South Korea and 18 percent in Japan. The country has yet to enter the Australian market.
In general, Amores said the local agriculture sector is facing the problems of competitiveness, demand-supply availability, product development, post-harvest facilities, and access to credit and financing that are hindering the sector’s full potential.