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PIA Press Release

National policy for banana exports needed

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (20 March) -- The government must come up with national policy with regards exporting fresh bananas to foreign market.

In an interview with Roger Chio, Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture (DA XI) who is also the agency's Mindanao cluster head said it would be ideal if government come up with a standard policy with regards to the quality of bananas being shipped to other countries from here.

But investor Abbar and Zainy during a recent press launch of its local arm, Davao City-based Aztropex, Inc. at the Waterfront Insular Hotel and Eugene Brand, Global Procurement Manager of ANZ said policies on the quality of bananas varies depending on the country where the product will be marketed.

ANZ based in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is importing fresh banana for the Middle East market where it would need some 12 million boxes annually.

Brand said the Middle East market policy is not as stringent as that of the other markets like Japan.

But he said that it does not mean they do not adhere to standards the fact that they are gearing into the ISO accreditation and they are working on it.

He said majority of their supply will come from Mindanao and in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao and only a small percentage from Ecuador.

Astropex President Ameerah Rose P. Sira meanwhile said that they will tap the production of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao even as she said that there are other productive areas in the other parts of the island mostly in the Davao Region whose contracts with other companies had expired will also be their source for fresh bananas.

In a press statement the ANZ gave assurance that their presence in the local banana industry is aimed at improving the lot of small growers.

Dispelling notions that its entry would cause disturbance in the dollar-generating industry, ANZ said its intention is to bring up the plight of banana growers in Davao.

Aztropex, Inc. would link the rich Arab market to banana players in Mindanao as the Middle East market has a demand of about 10 to 20 million boxes of fresh bananas yearly.

The buying price of Aztropex of US$4.50 per box created recently a stir in the industry, as it is much higher than the usual $3.60 to $3.90 per box.

Farmers and growers of Davao del Norte sought the assistance of the local government units where most of the small banana farms are located to look into the current market price where because of very low buying price has affected the operations of the farm growers.

Earlier Vicente Lao chairman of the Regional Development Council said banana companies who are in partnership with small growers must review their agreement with the fact that the market has change. (PIA) [top]

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