Cavendish bananas

Pilipino banana marketers are eyeing new export opportunities, in preparation for a possible production surplus later this year, SunStar Davao has reported.

Increasing shipment volumes to Russia, the US and Europe is a likely option, while emerging economies such as those in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan may also be targeted, according to the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association’s (PBGEA) executive director Stephen Antig. The possible surplus would be create by a spike in production as the industry continues its recovery from Typhoon Pablo, which hit the key banana growing region of Mindanao in late 2012.

“The industry is expected to recover by the end of this year however, once we recover there will be a surplus resulting to a drop in prices,” Antig told SunStar. “That is the reason why we are finding new markets to address this.”

Japan and China remain the two largest export markets for Philippine-grown cavendish bananas, however shipments to both markets declined significantly last season. Exports to Japan dropped from 26.44m cartons in 2012 to 22.31m cartons in 2013, while Chinese exports fell from 19.14m cartons to 10.94m cartons over the same year-on-year period, according to figures released by the PBGEA. Total cavendish exports to the Philippines top 5 markets dropped from 74.57m boxes in 2012 to 52.36m boxes in 2013.

“Once the volume normalises, we are hoping that we should be able to export 180 to 200 million boxes,” Antig said.