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Meet to highlight local banana varieties: exec

The upcoming International Banana Congress will highlight local varieties like Saba and Cardava than the Cavendish variety, said Stephen A. Antig, executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association yesterday.

During the Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape – Abreeza Mall media forum, Antig said organizers will try to lay low on promoting Cavendish, the variety being exported in fresh form, during the congress in October to give way to local varieties.

“It’s about time that we focus on Saba and Cardava because in reality the price of native bananas is more expensive than Cavendish. It’s just that they have not given importance thinking that these are of lower value,” Antig said.

He said this initiative will also help the small farmers who are the common growers of native bananas. “We believe that the time has come that we should unite and I hope the Banana Industry Development Council (BIDC) will be able to do that,” Antig said adding that big companies need to coexist with the small farmers.

He said the roadmap that they are preparing in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, which he hopes will be implemented this year, also gives emphasis to the promotion of other banana varieties aside from Cavendish.

Meanwhile, the total export of banana from the Philippines to China decreased by eight percent during the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.

However, the country still remains the top banana exporter in Asia and second in the world. The export value of banana also increased by 57.5% during the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.

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