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Philippine bananas eye Australia

Banana growers in the Philippines may pursue a ruling from the WTO to have Australia ease some of its import restrictions

Philippine bananas eye Australia

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Executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) Stephen Antig said growers could meet most of the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements of Biosecurity Australia, except two.

These are that bananas for export should have eight leaves prior to harvest, and that non-perforated plastic bags should be used when packing the fruit.

“It is quite impossible for growers to comply with the requirements that the banana tree should have eight leaves prior to harvest and that non-perforated bags should be used to pack the product,” he told

Maria Emilia Rita Fabregar, also of the PBGEA, told the news source growers used perforated bags to prevent heat build-up, which affects the quality and ripening of the fruit.

She added that Biosecurity Australia needed to be made aware of the climatic difference between Australia and the Philippines.

The requirement on the number of leaves also posed a problem as the standard in the Philippines is for five leaves.

The rumblings from the Philippines will worry the banana industry in Australia, which is still reeling from the effects of Cyclone Yasi that destroyed around 80 per cent of the country's banana crop in February of this year.

The cost of bananas in the country had since sky rocketed to around A$12 per kg.

The New Zealand apple industry recently won a case it lodged with the WTO that claimed Australia’s import regulations for its fruit were not scientifically justified and equated to a non-tariff trade barrier.

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