The Philippines and United States governments are working on a bilateral agreement on agricultural produce after a go-signal was given to export volumes of local bananas to the American market.
“The final stage is the bilateral signing between the governments to formalize our export of bananas to the United States,” said Clarito Barron, director of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry.
The new export market for Philippine bananas, one of the country’s top dollar earners, was confirmed recently by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. According to Alcala, the phytosanitary check of the crop has been completed and the parties have been discussing the logistics of the export process.
The government has directed the agriculture department to eye new markets for the local crop after the Chinese government recently blocked the entry of Philippine bananas to their market over concerns of pest contamination.
Barron said he hoped the Philippines would be able to export bananas to the US mainland and territories “within the year.” If the deal pushes through, this would be the first time that local bananas will be sold in the United States.
In exchange for the US allowing the entry of local bananas to its market, the United States wants the Philippines to allow the importation of more American potatoes and vegetables, Barron said.
According to the agriculture official, importers of American-farmed vegetables bring in minimal amounts of produce—between 250 and 500 kilos—to the Philippines. The vegetables are usually intended for high-end clients like hotels and restaurants, he said.
“We are asking that our bananas be sent to them. They are asking us to import potatoes and semi-temperate vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower… they would like to increase the volume, not only for the high-end consumers but for the whole market,” he said.
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