Exporters call for intensified actions vs. banana diseases

(PNA)

Exporters are pushing for intensified actions against diseases affecting banana production in Mindanao to meet the growing demand for higher quality products of the overseas markets.

In a resolution adopted during the recent Mindanao Export Congress, they noted that infestation of various diseases such as fusarium wilt and black sigatoka affect the overall quality of their banana output, thus lowering their profits as well.

To address this issue on such diseases, the Mindanao exporters said that the Dept. of Agriculture should strengthen the provision of support programs.

“The international market of banana requires standards and requirements that exporters need to meet,” they noted.

Likewise, exporters underscored the need to undertake more stringent accreditation processes by the private and government sectors on bananas.

This, as while the sectors have aligned accreditation programs to monitor the quality of banana produced for exports, the number of exporters who ship low-quality bananas are increasing.

“Consequently, this affects the trade of bananas in the international market,” they said.

Exporters added the accreditation policies and procedures of the Bureau of Plant Industry-Plant Quarantine Services (BPI-PQS) should be reviewed and enforced to ensure that international standards for farms and packing houses are complied.

Edgar Bullecer, chief executive officer of agricultural producer Paglas Group of Companies, identified weather and diseases as among the problems and constraints facing banana producers.

Financing and market stability also remain perennial problems of the sector.

“Bad quality bananas that manage to reach the export market compromise the image of overall Philippine banana,” he said during the Export Congress.

To meet the strict requirements of importing countries, Bullecer recommended the holding of training on quality standards and benchmarking, product and technology upgrading and encouraging growers and processors to seek for certification.

Such certifications include the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points accreditation and Good Agricultural Practices.