PHILIPPINE banana exports from January to July plunged by 44 percent to 1.376 million metric tons from 2.484 MMT recorded volume in the same period of last year, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.
PSA data showed the value of banana exports during the seven-month period declined by 40.5 percent to $625.747 million from last year’s $1.052 billion.
Historical PSA data showed this is the lowest volume and value of banana exports recorded by the Philippines in a January-to-July period in the past five years.
PSA data also showed the country’s banana exports in its four key markets (Japan, China, South Korea and Iran) declined year-on-year both in terms of value and volume of shipments during the reference period.
The country’s banana exports to Japan, the top destination for Philippine bananas, declined by 39.5 percent to $261.616 million from $463.585 million while volume of shipments plunged by 45.32 percent to 508,890.569 MT from a year ago, based on PSA data. China imported 508,460.651 MT of bananas from the Philippines during the seven-month period, which was almost 30 percent lower than the 723,635.002 MT it bought a year ago.
The value of Philippine banana exports to South Korea declined by 38.6 percent to $83.411 million from last year’s $135.921 million while volume of shipments fell by 44.37 percent to 165,552.779 MT.
Philippine banana exports this year has been anemic due to erratic production caused by Panama disease, coupled with domestic logistical woes arising from Covid-19-related restrictions worsened by global shipping problems.
Shrinking market share
On top of these problems, the country is also losing market share in key Asian banana markets as well as prospective investments to Latin American producers, as earlier revealed by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA).
The PBGEA said in July that the total value of country’s banana exports this year could show near-flattish growth from last year’s $1.644-billion level since there is no “new big expansion” in the domestic banana industry.
The BusinessMirror earlier reported that the government must shell out at least P4.088 billion over the next four years to bankroll interventions to increase local banana production and maintain the Philippines’s status as one of the leading banana growers in the world.
Based on the initial draft of a new road map for the banana sector, the government must set aside P2.541 billion for the proposed Cavendish industry action plan. It also calls for the allocation of P741 million and P806 million for the lakatan and saba industry plans, respectively.
The action plans for the three banana varieties outlined interventions to expand and rehabilitate plantations affected by Fusarium wilt and improve yield and quality and reduce wastage through the establishment of post-harvest facilities. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/09/27/govt-must-spend-%e2%82%a74b-to-hike-banana-output/)