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Banana industry hounded by brain drain: Executive

The banana export industry has hoisted the alert over the brain drain involving technical personnel of banana companies who have been offered higher salaries by other companies competing with the country in the international market.

Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA) Executive Director Stephen A. Antig said during the Wednesdays @ Habi & Kape media forum at Abreeza Mall, that neighboring countries in Southeast Asia are advancing their development of banana industry.

“What is alarming is that they have been pirating a lot of our technical people,” Antig said, adding that if the situation continues, the local banana industry will suffer as companies from neighboring countries are offering lucrative pay to really entice the workers.

“We cannot afford to lose our good people, our technical people who are very experienced in terms of banana growing because humility aside, I believe we grow one of the best bananas in the world,” he said.
Antig said to be able to sustain the best performance of the Philippines in the banana industry, the government and private sector must step up efforts in addressing the needs of the banana growers to make them stay.

He also hoped for the new secretary of the Department of Agriculture, William Dar, to be able to help address this challenge.

Next week, industry officials and Dar will meet to discuss the chartered Banana Industry Development Roadmap 2018-2020. Antig said they will also discuss with the DA secretary about the banana research facilities “because right now we are lagging behind as far as our competitors are concerned.”

“Taiwan is a very small country but they have one of the best research laboratory especially in terms of banana tissue culture and production of different banana verities. Japan also has a very good laboratory even as far as Africa and Mozambique,” said Antig.

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