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Campaign to educate Japanese on banana industry issues: execs

Non-government organizations (NGOs) in the country and consumer groups in Japan have launched a campaign to educate the Japanese market about sources of the banana they are buying from the country.

Lawyer Irvin Sagarino of the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) said he and officials of the Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) Inc. met with representatives of Japanese consumer groups last week to discuss the Ethical Banana Campaign.

This campaign, Sagarino explained, is aimed educating the Japanese market about the Philippine banana industry and the issues that it is facing.

“Some of the communities there (Japan) wanted to know the current situations of our farmers here in the Philippines, they wanted to know whether the banana farmers are doing well,” said Sagarino during the weekly “Kapihan sa Dabaw” at SM City Davao.

He said the Japanese consumer groups have committed to support the campaign.

Chinkie Peliño-Golle, IDIS executive director, said Japanese consumers “don’t how the bananas are produced and who these are producers.”

Peliño-Golle said there is a need for the Japanese consumers, among the biggest buyers of Philippine bananas, to know the concerns of the industry in the country as the campaign organizers will also push for these consumers to buy bananas that are produced in sustainable ways like ensuring that the environment is not harmed.

“We’ve agreed to really help them identify what are these plantation companies that are producing banana in the Philippines and what are their practices, like a scorecard, and we will present (the facts to) them,” said Golle.

Organizers of the campaign will also come up with scorecards that will showcase the practices of banana suppliers and that these will be displayed in supermarkets by their Japanese counterparts.

Sagarino added: “The campaign also aims to influence the banana companies locally to practice good business practices and also indulge into healthy environment practices, with the end to call for Japanese consumers will patronize ethical banana growers.”

He said advocates home that banana growers in the country will follow good agricultural practices. “The aim of this campaign is to not malign the banana companies. What we are pushing really is a win-win relationship between the banana farmers and the banana companies,” he said.

He said the campaign is not also calling for a boycott of Cavendish banana, the main that is being exported, because this is the biggest export earner of the industry.

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