The Filipino banana farmers, especially in Mindanao can now have a sigh of relief following China’s announcement that ban on import has been lifted, and that business is back to normal.
During his courtesy call at the Department of Agriculture, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said China would now accept bananas and pineapples from Philippine-based exporters.
“We very much appreciate the action of the Chinese government as this will relieve our banana farmers from the serious problem during the suspension considering that China is a huge market for our banana industry,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said over the phone.
The Philippines remains the second largest producer of bananas worldwide, next to Ecuador, and it continues to supply 95 percent of the total banana demand for the Asian market.
Last year, the Philippines exported 448,000 metric tons of bananas to China valued at $157.5 million.
China had destroyed 35 tons of bananas from the Philippines valued at $33,000 last March, and eventually suspended 27 exporters.
The bananas were destroyed in Shenzen, a major entry point for Philippine bananas, after notifications of non-compliance.
The Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China issued the notification of non-compliance, saying it detected the presence of the pest Dysmicoccus neobrevipes in the shipment made by NKM Import/Export Inc. to Dalian Kawoo Import and Export Co. Ltd.
Another factor for the suspension was the shipment of Sumifru to Shenzen Everglory Trading Co. Ltd which has a carbendazim level of 0.199 mg/kg, in excess of the maximum residue level of 0.1 mg/kg.
But just last month, ASQIQ sent an inspection team to the Philippines to evaluate the corrective measure being implemented by the local-based exporters, thus the lifting of the ban.
Aside from lifting the ban, China is also looking at increasing its imports from the Philippines particularly on high value commercial crops such as mangoes, coconut and dragon fruit, among others.
Jianhua said China was also interested in high-end fishery products from the Philippines including Lapu-Lapu, crabs, shrimps, prawns, and tuna. /Elly Castro – Philstar/