SEOUL: South Korea will import more Cavendish bananas from the Philippines this year to satisfy the increasing demand of Korean consumers for it, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol.
Piñol said South Korea needs about 35 million boxes more of Cavendish bananas valued at $280 million (P14 billion). The 35 million boxes of bananas would be equivalent to 455,000 metric tons (MT).
“In my meeting with Dole South Korea [Dole Korea Ltd.], they [Dole Korea Ltd. officials] said South Korea needs about 35 million boxes more of Cavendish bananas from the Philippines,” he said in a recent interview with reporters.
“In fact, they have to import from Ecuador and Guatemala just to fill up the shortage. But South Korean banana consumers prefer Philippine bananas,” Piñol added.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is confident of increasing the country’s banana exports this year, after the Philippines secured a P2.3-billion agriculture deal with Japan-based agribusiness company Farmind Co. last year. The deal involved the importation of at least 20 million boxes of Cavendish bananas.
“The good thing with the South Korean and Japanese markets is that there’s no politics involved. There are no political issues standing in the way of business deals with them,” Piñol said.
The Philippines accounts for more than 90 percent of bananas being imported by South Korea annually. Exporters shipped a total of 238,496 MT of bananas to South Korea, valued at $114.54 million in 2016, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The PSA data showed that the total outbound shipments of bananas to Seoul last year was 12.45 percent higher than the 212,083 MT exported in 2015.
The value of banana exports to South Korea is also 41.44 percent higher than the $80.99 million posted in 2015, according to the PSA data.
PSA data also showed that South Korea accounted for 18.5 percent of total bananas exported by the Philippines last year, higher than the 12.31 percent recorded in 2015.