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PIA Press Release

Davao RDC supports banana dialogue

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (5 March) -- Regional Development Council chair Vicente Lao supports the move for small growers of banana farms for a dialogue with their partner companies for a review of their agreements.

Although Lao stated that he does not want to engage in such move now that he's into supplying exportable bananas to the international market. But with the change in the market it is high time that multinational companies should also look at the current market prices.

"Prices should be reviewed on specific time interval now that the market changes. And with the current issue affecting the banana industry I support the small growers," he said.

Lao heads the Maharlika Agri-Ventures, Inc. that supplies fresh exportable bananas to Abbar & Zyni for the Middle East market where the demand is about 10 to 20 million boxes annually.

During the Davao Business Forum on Tuesday at the MediSpa at SM City Davao, Lao said they are one of the suppliers of Abbar & Zyni for the company's needs of their chain of store in the ME.

He said their buying price is US$4.50 per box, a price that is very much higher than before and they buy based on the prevailing market price.

Lao said they had for now about 1,000 hectares within the Davao Region owned by farmers mostly from Davao City, Compostela Valley Province and Davao del Norte where they had marketing agreements for the farmers to supply them with certain number of boxes based on the farmer's capacity to deliver.

He clarified that they see to it that these farmers do not have existing contracts with other companies otherwise they will not allow these growers to supply them with bananas.

"These are banana growers whose contract with multi-national companies had already expired," he said.

On the average, Lao said they supply their principal with 20 container vans weekly and in order for their company to deliver the standard set by Abbar & Zyni they had employed 55 technicians to see to it they deliver only quality bananas.

He said these technicians go with the gang harvester for them to assess which fruit to cut while the other technicians are deployed at the packing plants to check and validate quality of the fruit.

"From the time the fruit leaves the packing plant up to the time it reaches the container yard for shipment there are control mechanism that is set up to really ensure that every step is guarded," he said. (PIA) [top]

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