THE Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association, Inc. (MBFEA) is determined on bringing back the Philippines as the top banana exporter in Russia despite Russia’s disappointment of the inconsistent banana supply from the country.
In an interview with the new MBFEA president Richard Mark delos Reyes, during the Banana Congress held at the SMX Convention Center Thursday, October 12, he said Russia currently imports their banana from Ecuador when the banana plantations in the Philippines were damaged by typhoons and could no longer meet with the demand of the country.
“When we went back to the Russian market to check for interested importers, sadly, they are really disappointed that the Philippines stopped supplying bananas to Russia. They thought why would they get supply from us if they already have a stable supply of banana from Ecuador. As of now, they’re really hesitant,” he said.
Delos Reyes said the banana growers and players in the Philippines should work harder to keep up and compete with the quality of the Ecuadorian bananas to bring back the Russian market.
He said the Philippines can try penetrating again the eastern side of Russia as Philippines is closest to it than Ecuador is.
However, Delos Reyes said the eastern side of Russia has a smaller demand, about 70 containers per month, as the area is still developing. This is way smaller than the banana demand on the western side or the European side of Russia, which has a demand of about 1,000 containers per month and where Ecuador is exporting to now.
“We’re not competitive there because Ecuador is very much near to them. Of course the logistics cost is a lot cheaper and when we transport our bananas to the west side of their country, specifically St. Petersburg, transit time takes about 40 days. Ecuador to Russia takes only two weeks at most. When it comes to quality, Ecuadorian bananas are also better because it arrives to them fresher,” said delos Reyes.
He said export of bananas in Russia will still gradually resume in the eastern side of the country but might not be as huge as it was five years ago.