(Davao City, 8 June 2023). The Economic Development Committee (EDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) XI, during its second quarter meeting on June 6, 2023, discussed the issues and challenges of the banana industry and identified comprehensive solutions and ways forward to support the industry.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation, the EDC XI invited resource speakers from government agencies and private organizations to present the current situation of the banana industry. These speakers included representatives from the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office XI (DA XI), and the Department of Trade and Industry Region XI (DTI XI). Additionally, the Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association (MBFEA) provided its position paper on the matter, which was presented by Chief Emily Jeanette R. Salvado, Secretary of EDC XI.
From the discussion, four major challenges affecting the banana industry were identified: (1) Continuous Infestation of Fusarium Wilt TR4 in banana farms; (2) Spiraling cost of production inputs and other related expenses due to inflation and substantial penalties, among other factors; (3) Increasing competition in the international market for cavendish banana from other countries (i.e., Vietnam and Cambodia); and, (4) Difficulty of expanding farm areas for banana to replace infested ones.
Ms. Yvette Matabalan of the PBGEA stated, “These challenges applied pressure on prices and margins along the value chain and affected the ability of growers and exporters to supply bananas in adequate quantities and quality standards expected in export markets”. She further emphasized the necessity of a collaborative effort among all stakeholders to address the industry’s challenges.
EDC XI Co-chairperson PSR Joseph Palanca agreed and suggested securing the involvement of other stakeholders in formulating recommendations to tackle the industry’s issues, especially since certain recommendations presented to the Committee may require further discussion and consultation with relevant agencies and stakeholders.
The EDC XI resolved to direct relevant agencies to conduct a multisectoral consultative workshop involving all stakeholders to deliberate on the issues, challenges, and proposed recommendations for the banana industry.
-Rod Norbert D Mondoyo, NEDA XI