Go bananas!

By: Dominic D. Yasay November 30,2016 - 09:23 PM
With the Chinese government committing to buy $100 million worth of bananas, the local traders are encouraged to explore going into the fruit exporting business. (INQUIRER FILE).

With the Chinese government committing to buy $100 million worth of bananas, the local traders are encouraged to explore going into the fruit exporting business. (INQUIRER FILE).

Traders urged to consider exporting fruits to get slice of China’s market

Explore opportunities in the fruit export sector.

Federico Escalona, Philippine Exports Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) Cebu Chapter executive director, made this call to local exporters as he encouraged them to explore opportunities with China’s recent commitment, where the Chinese government signed a contract with the Philippine government, to buy $100 million worth of fruits from the country, particularly bananas and pineapples.

Escalona said the local exporters should expand and go into the fruit exporting business to get a share of the demand of these products from China.

“Traditionally, it is Mindanao who can very much benefit from this agreement since it is this region that largely produces fruits like pineapples and bananas while Visayas’ strong product is mangoes. But with the improved relationship with China, our exporters might consider planting these crops and fully tap the Chinese market,” said Escalona during last Friday’s POWWOW 2016, a forum organized by Philexport Cebu in Cebu City.

Cebu currently exports preserved fruit products namely papaya nectar, guyabano, melon juice and dried mangoes to traditional markets like the USA, Japan and Europe.

Escalona encouraged local exporters to explore opportunities in the fruit export sector especially with China’s lifting of the suspension of 20 banana exporters and six mango exporters from the Philippines.

“The suspension was ordered since our relationship with China had gone sour during the previous administrations. But since it has already been lifted, there’s a chance that our business with China will boost up,” he said.

Escalona said Philexport is training local exporters to teach them strategic costing and pricing of their products so that they can compete and be prepared when the opportunity to enter the Chinese market will happen.

Director Elena Arbon of Department of Trade and Industry Cebu province said they had no specific instructions on how to take advantage of this demand, but linking exporters to potential markets is ongoing.

“Cebu is not that competitive in terms of fruit products because we are mainly exporting manufactured goods. But this is a great chance to explore new markets. It’s up to our exporters to grab this opportunity,” Arbon said in a phone interview with CDN.

Since the second quarter of 2015, the export sector has been experiencing a 17-month decline as a knee-jerk reaction to the dive of the global market demand. Experts chalk this movement up to the shift of consumers’ lifestyle as well as political and generational change.

Based on DTI’s records, the sector has only posted a slight increase of 5.1 percent last September. If the last quarter of 2016 will show signs of growth, there is a chance that 2017 will become a year of revival for exports, Escalona said.

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TAGS: Banana, Cebu, Cebu Chapter, China, Chinese, Department of Trade and Industry, DTI, Europe, export, fruit, fruit export, guyabano, Inc., Jackfruit, Japan, Nectar, papaya, PhilExport, Philippine Exports Confederation, Philippines, powwow, POWWOW 2016, USA

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