Philippines 1st exporter of Cavendish banana to US

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Sunday, September 15, 2013


A TOTAL of 7.047 metric tons of Cavendish bananas coming from Bukidnon province arrived at the Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles in California on September 9, Philippine Embassy in US announced Sunday (Manila time).

The bananas were exported by Dole Philippines to Dole Food Company Inc. through Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental on August 20.

In its website, the Philippine Embassy in US announced that the arrival of the maiden shipment of Cavendish made the Philippines the first Asian country to export bananas to US.

"With this shipment, we are hopeful that Philippine bananas would be able to find and satisfy a niche in the competitive US banana market," Philippine ambassador to US Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said.

He is also hoping that the shipment of bananas from the country to US will increase.

Agricultural attaché Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa said the shipment came almost eight years after the Philippines first asked for a market access in US.

The first shipment was just first out of the 3,000 metric tons that the US is expected to import from the Philippines this year.

"Philippine bananas are among the best in the world and there is opportunity to bring in the unique and special banana varieties like lakatan and latondan, which Filipinos in the US have long been craving for and which Americans can learn to love," said Javelosa.

The highland bananas will be distributed in US under Sweetio brand next week. Since the shipment arrived last week, they had been transferred to a ripening warehouse.

With the entry of the first batch of banana export there, US is now officially in the list of foreign markets of the Philippines, joining Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Singapore, Middle East, Canada, Russia, and Indonesia.

The newly-found market is seen to further drive the growth of the Philippine banana industry, especially in Mindanao where most of the banana plantations are still recovering from the Typhoon Pablo that hit the island on December 4, 2012.

Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) executive director Stephen Antig said exporters from Mindanao are hoping to export initially a total of 250,000 boxes of Cavendish to US annually on a trial shipment.

"It's just a small market just like when we started in China. We're hoping that it will grow. We're keeping our fingers crossed," he said.

Antig added that the main constraint of the exporters to ship out bananas is the distance from Philippines to US.

"Shipping to a new market is not the end of it, you have to wait for the response from the market if the product arrived in good quality and in good condition," he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 16, 2013.

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