Mindanao bananas now in US markets

By LOVELY MAE CASENAS, Staff Member

MINDANAO-produced bananas finally made it to the US markets with the arrival last week of the maiden shipment of 7.047 metric tons of Cavendish variety at the Port of Long Beach near Los Angeles.

“With this shipment, we are hopeful that Philippine bananas would be able to find and satisfy a niche in the competitive US banana market. We also hope that this is the beginning of increased access of Philippine bananas in North America,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said.

This development made the Philippines as the first Asian country to export bananas in the US.

Part of an estimated 3,000 metric tons that the US hopes to import from the Philippines this year, the maiden shipment came almost eight years after the Philippines first requested market access for its bananas, Agriculture attaché Josyline C. Javelosa said.

“Philippine bananas are among the best in the world and there is opportunity to bring in the unique and special banana varieties like lakatan and latundan, which Filipinos in the US have long been craving for and which Americans can learn to love,” said Javelosa.

The highland bananas, marketed in the US under the Sweetio brand and shipped by Dole Philippines to Dole Food Co Inc, came from the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The bananas arrived last September 9 and were transferred to a ripening warehouse. They will be available in the Los Angeles area next week, said Javelosa.

Javelosa said the shipment puts the US in the list of overseas destinations for Philippine bananas. Other Philippine markets are Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, China, Singapore, the Middle East, Canada, Russia and Indonesia.

Javelosa said this came nearly eight years after Manila first asked for access to the American market.

“Philippine bananas are among the best in the world and there is opportunity to bring in the unique and special banana varieties like lakatan and latondan, which Filipinos in the US have long been craving for and which Americans can learn to love,” said Javelosa.

The Philippines also exports bananas to Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, China, Singapore, the Middle East, Canada, Russia and Indonesia.

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