PH banana exports grow 111% in 2012 despite China issue

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Despite the export restrictions imposed by China on Philippine bananas in 2012, total exports of the fresh fruit grew to 3.8 million MT from 1.8 million MT due to increasing demand from the country's premium markets

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the export restrictions imposed by China on Philippine bananas in 2012, total exports of the fresh fruit grew more than two-fold largely due to increasing demand from the country’s premium markets.

The local banana industry managed to increase shipments of Cavendish bananas to 3.8 million metric tons in 2012, compared to the 1.8 million MT recorded in 2011, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Clarito Baron said in a speech during the agency’s 83rd anniversary on January 24.

Increasing demand from other traditional markets for Cavendish bananas, as well as the opening of new export markets, contributed to the stronger year-on-year performance of the banana sector, Baron said.

“There’s a significant increase in volume in major importing countries like Japan and Korea,” Barron told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the event.

He cited the increase in exports to Japan and Korea, the top two destinations of Philippine Cavendish bananas. The combined export receipts of over 1 million metric ton (MT) from these two markets made up for the loses in the Chinese market.

The Philippines’ banana exports to Japan tripled to 1.86 million MT in 2012 from the previous year’s 508,000 MT. Exports to South Korea, on the other hand, soared to 657,000 MT in 2012 from the 153,000 MT volume in 2011.

Banana exports to China fell by around 27% to 473,000 MT from 650,000 MT.

Baron added the Philippines was also able to ship to new destinations like Indonesia, Pakistan, Jordan, and other Middle East countries.

Baron noted that restrictions on Philippine banana exports to China are now easing. Chinese quarantine officials have also notified Manila of the improvement in the quality of banana shipments to China.

“China remained our third biggest market, next to Japan and Korea. But they still play a big role as one of our biggest banana export market,” he said.

For 2013, Barron said they expect banana exports to further increase as the planned export of bananas to the United States pushes through by the first quarter of 2013.

The Philippines is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of bananas. –

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