Yap to Davaoe?os: Don’t give away banana industry to other countries

Yap issued the admonition following his dismay over the passage of a city ordinance that banned aerial spraying as a mode of application of pesticides, and which industry players feared may spread to the other areas where their plantations were also located.


Yap said local political leaders here ought to strike a balance between the interest of the people in the community and the industry.

"We appeal to our constituents here that we should not hand over the Philippine banana industry to foreigners. We fought so hard to fight for our pre-eminent position in the banana export banana industry in Asia," he said.


Duterte signed the ordinance on Thursday and would soon be publicized in local newspapers prior to its full implementation. (Read related story).  

The Agriculture chief claimed that the banana industry earned a "status quo" on the city's implementation of the aerial spraying ban after he met with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Friday.


"As far as I am concerned everything is still in a status quo right now. We are on track," Yap said after a three-hour closed door meeting with Duterte at the Marco Polo Hotel. They earlier toured the plantations in the northern part of the city.  


"I have to assure the international market that Philippine bananas will be delivered. I am assuring them right now that Philippine bananas will be delivered," he said.


Yap said he was confident there would be a win-win solution to the issue and added that the banana exporters and the Department of Agriculture would take whatever measures allowed them by law to come up with that solution. . “There is a due process that should be respected.”


"If nobody is facilitating the talks, every body will solidify (its stand) on the issue. DA has the macro picture. Then they (local government) has the local picture," he said.  “It has to be a mix of local and national view.


He said he was concerned that in Davao alone the banning of aerial spray could affect about 6,000 hectares of banana plantation and around 10,000 hectares. But he said he believed other local government units would “not follow blindly the city' legislation given that the Department of Health has not declared fungicide used in aerial spray as harmful to human health”.


Yap said he is elated that Duterte understood that banana is the country's second biggest high value crop and a top export crop. He said the industry is growing by at least 10 percent and he wants to sustain it.

Yap stressed the DA will stand for the expansion of the banana industry.


"But then again I have to understand that the expansion of the industry must do so with respect to both local and national laws," he said. "It should not only be the growth of the industry that we have to look after, we should look at a win-win situation," he said.


Duterte toured him around banana plantations and showed Yap the reasons behind the decision of the city council to approve the legislation.


Yap said he pointed out some things that can be improved so that the conflict between the industry and the community will be resolved. He said the situation in Davao was a classic case when tension in agriculture sector and human needs collide.


He said the region stands to lose about P3.5 billion in exports and thousands of workers in the banning.