Japan recession not to affect banana industry, growers say

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Nov) –Banana growers and exporters are confident that the recession in Japan will not affect the local banana industry.

Last Monday, international news agencies reported that Japan’s economy is now in a recession after its gross domestic product (GDP) shrank.

But despite this report, Anthony Alexander Valoria, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), said that purchases in the market have even increased.

Banana, he noted, is the most important fruit in the world, saying that it is the most consumed and the cheapest fruit in the world.

“So this makes banana recession-proof. The housewife, budget-wise, she transitions from more expensive fruits to banana,” he told reporters shortly before the opening of the Davao Trade Expo 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Lanang.

Valoria disclosed that the country is exporting at least 200 million boxes of bananas every year and at least 70 million of which go to Japan.

Each box of banana weighs 13 kilos.

Aside from Japan, banana producers are exporting to China, Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Turkemistan, Turkey and Bulgaria.

But small banana growers see things differently, saying they are concerned of the recession in Japan.

Ireneo Dalayon, chief executive of the Federation of Cooperatives in Mindanao (Fedco), said growers under Fedco are exporting at least 5,000 boxes of bananas to Japan every week.

While Japan is their biggest market, Dalayon said they are also exporting bananas to China and Middle East countries.