Banana exports down 47% in first semester


PHILIPPINE banana exports in the first half plunged by 47 percent to 1.154 million metric tons (MMT)—the lowest volume recorded in five years—as the domestic industry continues to reel from production and shipping woes.

Preliminary Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that the six-month shipment volume was 1.031 MMT lower than the 2.185 MMT exported in the January-to-June period of last year.

Historical PSA data showed that the country’s banana exports in the first half represents the lowest volume recorded in a January-to-June period since 2017. In 2016, first-half banana exports was at a dismal 579,026.297 MT volume.

Value wise, total shipments during the six-month period declined by 43.45 percent to $521.427 million from last year’s $922.111 million, based on PSA data.

Japan was the top destination for Philippine bananas both in terms of volume and value during the six-month period. The volume for banana exports to Japan declined by 48 percent to 422,363.997 MT from 812,111.305 MT while total value fell by 46.4 percent year-on-year to $215.174 million.

Banana exports to China declined by 28.6 percent to $178.577 million from $249.968 million while shipments to South Korea plunged by 42.8 percent to $70.897 million, based on PSA data.

Philippine banana exports this year has been anemic due to erratic production caused by Panama disease, coupled with domestic logistical woes due to Covid-19-related restrictions worsened by global shipping problems.

On top of these problems, the country is also losing market share in key Asian banana markets as well as prospective investments to Latin American producers, as earlier revealed by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA).

The PBGEA said in July that the total value of country’s banana exports this year could show near-flattish growth from last year’s $1.644-billion level since there is no “new big expansion” in the domestic banana industry.

“For this year, it should be very similar to last year. There are no new big expansions occurring in the industry,” PBGEA Chairman Alberto F. Bacani said at a virtual news briefing in July.

“Sad to say, a lot of multinationals prefer to expand in Ecuador or other Latin American countries rather than investing in the Philippines because of the perceived risks of Panama disease especially,” Bacani added.

Philippine banana exports receipts in 2020 declined by 15.8 percent to $1.644 billion from $1.953 billion in 2019 due to lower shipments caused by “poor production” as a result of the rapid spread of Panama disease worsened by logistical bottlenecks such as movement restrictions against Covid-19.

The Philippines’s banana exports last year declined by 13.51 percent to a two-year low of 3.808 million metric tons from the record-high 4.403 MMT recorded in 2019, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed.

Despite the decline in both volume and value of banana exports, the Philippines was able to keep its spot as the world’s second top exporter of the yellow fruit, based on international trade data. (Related story:

In May, the BusinessMirror broke the story that the Philippines is losing market share for the prized yellow fruit in key Asian markets to neighboring countries like Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as Latin American producers.

Trade map data of the multilateral International Trade Centre analyzed by the BusinessMirror showed that the Philippines’s market share for bananas in China, Japan, and South Korea has been shrinking in recent years, as domestic exporters have warned. (Related story:

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