Guatemala has recently stripped the Philippines of its status as the world’s second-largest exporter of bananas. Based on data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Central American nation has overtaken the Philippines in terms of banana exports last year.
In a report, FAO estimated that Guatemala exported a total of 2.467 million tons of bananas last year, eclipsing the Philippines’s 2.235 mln tons. The UN body noted that Philippine banana growers are grappling with the spread of Fusarium wilt or Panama disease, which could wipe out entire banana plantations. The spike in the cost of inputs and fertilizers, which was largely caused by the conflict in Eastern Europe, has also made it difficult for traders to keep the price of the crop at an affordable level.
Apart from coconut oil, banana is one of the major agricultural export earners of the Philippines. Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s banana exports reached $1.096 billion last year, second only to shipments of coconut oil, which reached more than $2 billion. However, export receipts from bananas recorded in 2022 were nearly 4 percent lower than the previous year’s $1.138 billion.
Banana growers and exporters belonging to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association are banking on the campaign promise of the President, who is concurrent agriculture chief, that a state-of-the-art Banana Research and Development Center would be set up during his term.