3-cm wire found in banana exported to Japan

THE planting of a wire inside one of the bananas exported to Japan may be considered economic sabotage, and specific security measures must be implemented to avoid similar incidents from happening again, said an official of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA).

The three-centimeter wire was found inside one of the bananas following a voluntary inspection at Dole Japan's facility in Kawasaki City last October 27. The bananas are sold in the supermarkets and greengrocers in Japan.

Dole Japan had about 9,000 bunches of banana recalled after the incident.

PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig said investigations as to where in the Philippines the bananas came from are ongoing. There have been no confirmation yet whether the bananas are from Mindanao.

"Definitely, we should add measures in plantations. As it is right now, our packing houses, especially those owned by big companies, have metal detectors. So the question is, if it is really from Mindanao, how did it pass through?" Antig said.

Though metal detectors in packing houses may be a helpful measure in preventing a similar incident, Antig said not all banana players can afford such technology, as there are a lot of smaller and medium growers in Mindanao whose financial capacities are limited.

In case results of the investigation would reveal that the bananas really come from Mindanao, security measures should be tightened, he added.

"It is very clear that this is economic sabotage. We can't really pinpoint who are behind this. If we can already tell who are the people responsible for this, then we can also confirm their reason. As of now, we can speculate that what they want is economic sabotage especially that this broke out just when President Rodrigo Duterte just came back from Japan," said Antig, adding that whoever did this may have the desire to ruin the banana industry of the Philippines.

As for PBGEA's part, he said they plan to talk with the export market to ensure that the banana growers and players will do something about it to make sure it does not happen again.


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