DAVAO CITY, Philippines – It is high time that Filipinos also consume the class A bananas that local growers are shipping abroad, a government official said, amid excessive supply following stringent rules imposed by China on the product.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 11 Director Marizon Loreto said that aside from working out possible new international markets, an increase in local consumption would also help the banana industry cope with weak demand.
“We, Filipinos, should start eating class A Cavendish bananas which are very healthy,” Loreto said.
Only a few shipments of Philippine bananas have been able to pass Chinese ports since March, when officials there started to impose strict inspection rules on imports from the Philippines. Chinese officials claimed bananas and other fruits from the Philippines carried pests.
Bananas are the Philippines’ second top agricultural commodity export next to coconuts, and China is the Philippines’ second biggest market for bananas after Japan.
Loreto said the local market should now be prioritized in the sale of Cavendish bananas, one of the best varieties of the fruit across the globe.
She noted however that some might be reluctant to consume these due to the preconceived idea that these are “food for the hogs” and therefore expensive, and the ones presently in the market are rejects.
Loreto said Cavendish bananas can now be bought at “reasonable” prices.
Cavendish banana usually sells at P11 to P20 per piece–which translates to around P132 and P320 for a typical 12-piece tier.
Now, the yellow Cavendish bananas are sold at P15 per kilo, which is equivalent to P60 per tier. The green bananas, meanwhile, retail at P30 per kilo, or P120 per tier.
Loreto said that small banana growers are already gearing up to sell their produce to various local government offices and schools.
“We are closely coordinating with the DSWD and DepEd in crafting ways to maximize our banana supply for the supplementary feeding program of the government,” she said.
In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, DTI also eyes to mobilize mothers and the small and medium enterprises to strengthen the production of various banana-based merchandises like chips, cakes, bread and wine.
“This is only temporary until we will be able to regain our ground in the international market. The present situation calls for our unity to help one another,” Loreto concluded. – Rappler.com