Davao banana sector wants its own dev't council

Subscribe Now September 27, 2016 at 08:19am

THE small and big banana players are pushing for the establishment of the National Banana Industry Development Council under the Duterte administration.

Ferdinand Maranon of Sagrex and Philippine Exporters Confederation-Davao president told reporters during the Kapehan Sa Dabaw at the SM City-Annex on Monday, September 26, the drafted executive order (EO) of the proposed council prepared by the banana players was already finished and is set to be presented to President Duterte through Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary, Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol during the National Banana Congress 2016 on October 6 to 8 at the SMX Convention Center, Lanang, Davao City.

The three-day event will feature a free discussion of the action agenda, resolutions, and EO which will pave the way for the creation of the council.

The council, Maranon said, will spearhead the overall development of the industry and on how the sector will face pressing issues besetting the billion-peso strong banana industry.

He said under the council, a proposed banana research center will be established in Davao Region to advance the interest of the small banana players which comprised some 60 percent of the industry.

The research center is seen to help the small farmers in technology assistance as only big players have research centers on their own.

"We will first seek for the EO to be signed and after that, we will strengthen the council’s existence through legislation," Maranon said.

Stephen Antig, executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, said there is no other perfect time to establish the council but now as more countries in Asia and South America are developing their banana industry and slowly entering the Philippines’ biggest export markets like China.

Antig cited Vietnam, for instance, is overtaking the Philippine banana industry in terms of land area. As of this year, Vietnam’s land area devoted to bananas is now at 126,000 hectares, much larger than the country’s 85,000 hectares.

"Unless we shape up, there will come a time that we will no longer become the biggest exporter of bananas in Southeast Asia," Antig said.

Federation of Banana Cooperatives chief executive officer, Rene Dalayon also said it is ironic that banana having been one of the biggest contributors of the country’s exports is not given much budget by the government and no single body is overseeing the industry’s direction.

He added the industry is heavily private sector-led.

Dalayon also said that a comprehensive and unified roadmap for the industry is needed in order to guide the players in a sustainable path.

Marano said this time, "there’s an overwhelming concern to push and rally behind the passing of a National Banana Industry Development Act" which will provide the development framework and implementation mechanisms of the optimum development of the industry.

Some 600 delegates, banana growers from all over the country are expected to convene for the congress.

The biennial congress is centered on the theme: "New Frontiers for Inclusive Economic Growth."

This year, the congress will put emphasis on the widespread damage brought about by the panama disease on Cavendish and Lakatan varieties, pest and diseases of other varieties, discussions on local and international market dynamics and logistics, how to strengthen its export market position as the South America countries like Ecuador is starting to enter Philippine’s largest international market including China, Korea and Japan because of the depleting prices of crude oil.

The event will be hosted by Philexport and supported by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and the Mindanao Development Authority. The three-day event will include plenary session, panel discussions, agency and commodity exhibits and educational exhibits.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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