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Fruitnet.com Staff

BY FRUITNET.COM STAFF

Thursday 6th November 2008, 14:05 Melbourne

Australian growers reject Philippine bananas

Australian banana growers are struggling to keep Philippine imports out of their domestic market

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ABGC president Patrick Leahy said in the report Philippine bananas “pose an unacceptable risk to the Australia domestic banana industry”, according to News Balita.

Bananas imported from the Philippines would also be much cheaper than domestically-grown fruit; about US$5.5 per carton compared to US$12.

The Council established a Banana Industry Fighting Funding (BIFF) last year to hold the fort against low-cost Philippine bananas, and A$0.05 from every 13kg carton of bananas sold under the Council’s aegis goes to the fund.

Philippine bananas were set to be exported to Australia in the third quarter of this year, following the conclusion of an import risk assessment.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard met with Philippine agricultural secretary Arthur Yap last year, after which Mr Yap officially stated the risk assessment would be “coming to an end by the second quarter of 2008”.

Philippine banana growers are looking forward to access to the Australian market, according to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association’s acting executive director Betty Francia.

“We’ve waited for this a very long time, but so far there's been no shipment yet to Australia,” she said.

The importation of bananas has been a matter of contention for many years between the two countries, according to Mr Yap.

“This is a 12-year saga and we feel this is the last issue standing between rosy pictures of Philippines-Australia relationship,” he said.

Last year, Philippine banana exporters filed a formal complain with the World Trade Organisation on the lack of access to Australia.

Mr Yap believes sales of bananas to the country could reach US$21.7m in the first year of trade.

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