Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Raids on banana plantations adversely affect industry

DAVAO CITY – The continued raids by lawless elements on banana plantations have adversely affected the industry’s sustainability as the country’s top export trade.

Aside from attacks against these plantations, climate change and lack of good agricultural practices are further draining the industry.

“But peace and order is the primary factor that is greatly affecting the banana industry,” said Ferdinand Marañon, president of PhilExport. Marañon said the industry is losing millions.

One company alone last year lost billions when the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked its box plant in Davao City and the plastic plant in Panabo.

The company, Lapanday Foods Corp., has folded up the two companies.

Marañon also cited the burning of about nine trucks in another banana plantation in Agusan del Sur.

He said one truck already costs more than a million pesos while a refrigerated container costs two to five million pesos.

“We are afraid that the investments of multinational companies will be pulled-out as it would be beyond their means to cope,” Marañon said, voicing concerns that if banana firms give in to demands of lawless groups, who forced businesses to give revolutionary taxes, it could cost them more money.

Marañon revealed that one company is already expanding in Latin America due to peace and order situation in banana plantation areas.

Philexport executive director Marizon Loreto said the continued attacks would result in displacement of workers and affect production, thus result in low supply of banana.

She said climate change like the El Niño is another factor that affects production and quality of the bananas.

Marañon said the banana industry players are counting on the government to address the issue on peace and order.

“We really hope the government will give us the solution,” he said.

On October 12 to 13, PhilExport will lead in the second banana congress to tackle the crucial issues affecting the industry.

This will focus on the main export product – the cavendish bananas.
Marañon said there is a clamor to hold second banana congress to put into context different challenges such as security, market competition, among others.

Invited to discuss on security is Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza, who already confirmed to speak at the banana congress.

Loreto said there are also technical experts to discuss breakthroughs such as managing the banana diseases; biodiversity; competitiveness of the industry; driving forces of the industry; and, marketing support. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)

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