Biz group pushes for Banana Industry Development Council

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 Sept) – The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) in Davao Region called on the government to create a Banana Industry Development Council (BIDC) that will “do the planning and handle the overall development” of the banana sector.

Philexport-Davao president Ferdinand Marañon told Kapehan sa Dabaw Monday that the proposed council will focus on major challenges facing the banana industry including diseases and government regulations.

He said the council will identify areas ideal for expansion to meet local and foreign demands, and lead in putting up a research center for the treatment of banana diseases, among other functions.

Stephen Antig, Pilipino Banana Growers Exporters Association executive director said the council is needed now that ASEAN neighbors have started venturing into banana, a development that could threaten the country’s position in global markets.

“We need to shape up or we will see a time that we will no longer be the biggest producer of banana in Southeast Asia,” he said.

He also urged the government to respond to the position paper that it submitted to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol last July 25, which contained the major concerns of the industry.

The position paper includes issues on pole vaulting, peace and order, Panama Disease, China market difficulties, high import tariff on bananas in Japan and South Korea, and climate change and weather disturbances.

“So far, we are still awaiting for the appropriate response to the position paper,” Antig said.

Marañon said they have already drafted the proposed executive order on the BIDC which will be submitted to Piñol for President Rodrido R. Duterte’s signing.

He said they will then ask Congress to pass a law institutionalizing the BIDC.

“There’s now an overwhelming concern to push and rally behind the passing of a National Banana Industry Development Act which will provide development framework and implementation mechanisms of the optimum development of the banana industry in the Philippines,” he said.

Stakeholders in the banana industry from all over the country will hold the Banana Congress 2016 on October 6 to 8 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

With the theme “New Frontiers for Inclusive Economic Growth,” Marañon said that the event will tackle the problems and challenges besetting the industry such as the widespread damage brought about by the Panama disease on Cavendish and Lakatan varieties, pest and diseases of other varieties, local and international market dynamics and logistics. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)