China importing more bananas after Yolanda

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 Jan) – The damage caused by super typhoon Yolanda on China’s banana industry has somehow brought some good news to Filipino growers.

According to Ireneo Dalayon, executive officer and president of the Federation of Cooperatives in Mindanao (Fedco), China has increased demand for bananas. “China was also hit by Yolanda,” he said.

Dalayon said that banana growers in China sustained 80-percent damage, especially in Hainan and Guangzhou. Taiwan, too, was affected. A total of 300,000 hectares of China’s banana farms were reportedly affected.

He said that the local banana exporters are enjoying a better price for banana exports in the region.

He added that China was turning into a lucrative market compared with others such as Japan, the Middle East and the United States because of the price and ease of shipping.

“Unlike shipping to the United States or the Middle East, products can get to China in as short as three to five days,” Dalayon noted.

He said that the price for cavendish banana is good for exporters, who have been faced with bad luck in the recent years due to sigatoka, Panama disease, as well as typhoon Pablo.

Demand in 2014 is expected to rise in China and other Yolanda-affected areas with banana import industries, he said.

“The Japanese market will always be there, but China has a better price,” Dalayon said.

He added that this rise in demand for cavendish was most beneficial for growers and exporters who have no binding contracts with larger firms for exporting the products.

Dalayon said that shipments to China reached up to 30 bonds per week, with China’s latest price coming in at $6.50 per box and a freight-on-board of $9 for non-contracted farmers.