The chairman of the Philippine Senate committee on agriculture and food is pushing for the immediate implementation of measures to bolster the Philippine banana export industry, whose business has been badly hit by reduced shipments to Iran, reports The Philippine Star.
In a statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan said his committee would recommend the President immediately appoint an ambassador to Iran to represent the Philippines' trade interests; and that a high-level government delegation is sent to Iran to revive the trade and export of bananas to Iran.
"Likewise, there will be medium and long-term solutions which we will recommend, one is to look for other alternative global markets considering the volatile situation in Iran," the senator added.
"We will also study other suggestions that will provide support for small growers like easier access to loans."
Senator Pangilinan issued the statement after conducting a public hearing on the detrimental effects of US sanctions on Iran to the Philippine banana export industry.
Shipments of Philippine bananas to Iran was abruptly stopped in October this year when Iranian authorities imposed a ban on 48 imported fruits.
Although Philippine bananas, pineapples and papayas were not included in the ban, imports were drastically slowed by the non-issuance of import permits by Iranian authorities to their fruit importers, the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) said.
The PBGEA said some 36,000 farm workers on 9,000ha of banana farms are directly affected by the Iran export problem.