The Department of Agriculture (DA), in partnership with small banana growers and exporters mostly based in Davao region, will put up common packing facilities that comply with required export standards.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement that the DA, in tandem with the Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association (MBFEA), will initially construct two banana packing facility at barangays Kinnamon and Casig-an, both in Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte, worth P3.1 million each.
Alcala said the amount will come from the President Aquino’s Social Fund, which allotted P50 million to construct new packing facilities and upgrade existing ones to enable small banana farmers comply with international sanitary and phytosanitary standards.
He added that the DA, through the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), is currently inspecting small banana packing facilities in Davao region, and subsequently accredit those that meet required standards.
Alcala urged the members of the MBFEA to form themselves into clusters so they could be served by common or central accredited packing facility.
However, he urged the “big players”—or members of the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association, headed by its executive director Stephen Antig—to share their technologies and good agricultural practices with the small growers and exporters, so they could be more productive and meet the stringent export standards.
Alcala said the DA will also provide them technical and marketing assistance, and training through the BPI, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, and High Value Crops Development Program.