Banana chips among emerging PH products for export, says DA

Published August 12, 2021, 4:53 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Department of Agriculture-High Value Crops Program (DA-HVCP) has identified “saba” banana chips as among the emerging local commodities for export to countries like China, United States (US), Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (UK).

“Banana ang number one, although malaki ang challenge ng banana industry natin lalo na ang cavendish (Banana is number one, although our banana industry is facing big challenges especially in the production of cavendish),” DA-HVCP Director U-Nichols Manalo said during a virtual press conference on Thursday, Aug. 12.

“Pinakamataas na export ng banana noong 2019 nasa US$1.8 billion ang halaga nito at nakakalungkot nga lang dahil sa pandemic at pati na rin sa pest and disease — malaking factor kung bakit bumababa ang production ng cavendish (The highest export value of banana reached US$1.8 billion in 2019; however, it’s sad that big factors like the pandemic, pests, and diseases have all caused cavendish production to go down),” Manalo explained.

But the director waxed hopeful that Philippine banana chips’ potential as an emerging commodity for export continues to improve.

“We are helping the small growers who are not part of big organizations to produce more banana,” Manalo said.

Aside from banana chips, other goods such as cacao, ube, durian, and okra have also attracted interest from foreign markets and are listed as among the country’s top emerging export crops.

Manalo noted that three out of the country’s six cacao entries placed in the Top 50 Best Beans in the world in July 2021. These are the cacao beans from Davao region and Negroc Occidental.

The DA said it will carry out plans for the continuous improvement of local cacao bean varieties and processed products so that they would remain world class.

It also revealed a plan to revive “barako coffee” and other quality coffee varieties for export.

Ube has shown an increased demand in both the US and local market, while authorities are in the process of completing requirements for the export of durian to China and other countries. In this regard, the agriculture department is aiming to expand durian production to 500 hectares in Davao City.

Philippine okra has also been enjoying higher demand overseas; it recently made its maiden export to South Korea, in addition to its current market in Japan.