GMANews | 12/22/2008
New rules will allow small RP banana farmers to sell to Japan
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, the world’s second-largest banana exporter, will soon draft a set of rules allowing small farmers to sell the produce to Japan.
A final protocol for the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) has already been submitted and is up for comment, said a Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) official.
Once approved, the protocol is expected to benefit small banana farmers as indicated in the Manila-Tokyo trade agreement, Plant Industry Bureau director Joel Rudinas said.
“They’re bringing down the tariffs from 20 percent to nine percent, and we want to pursue that," he said.
The move was earlier supported by Cotabato Representative Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, citing reports that the “Banana Morning Diet" — a hit among the diet-conscious Japanese — has severely reduced supplies in the country.
Besides being the world’s second-largest banana exporter after Ecuador, the Philippines sold 1.905 million metric tons of the fruit, bringing in some $440 million in foreign exchange. The Philippines currently has a 16 percent global market share.
For its part, Ecuador, which has 34 percent of the global banana export market, was able to sell 4.65 million metric tons of the fruit last year.
The legislator also asked the Agriculture and Trade departments to determine whether local producers require additional financial or technical assistance to expand market share.
The Philippines’ other rivals include India, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Costa Rica and Mexico.