Banana exports may take a hit after 'Pablo' devastates farms

by Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at Dec 06 2012 05:17 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2012 01:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- The government plans to tap local banana farmers spared from typhoon Pablo to help fill up export quotas of traders devastated by the recent weather disturbance.

"Yun pong allocations natin sa local market, yun po ang pakikiusapan po natin. Ako po'y personal na makikiusap kung puwedeng gamitin muna sa kumpirmiso ng ating mga traders para wag tayong masira," Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala told ANC News Now on Thursday.

Alcala said his department foresees bananas as the most hit agriculture produce after typhoon Pablo ravaged southern Philippines.

Since most of the banana plantations in the provinces of typhoon-hit Bukidnon and Compostela Valley cater to export markets, Alcala said the government may need to ask for help from other local producers in filling up export quotas.

"Yung mga hindi tinamaan na may taniman ng bananas, yung gobyerno po ay makikipagnegotiate sa kanila para lang wag pong masira ang ating traders kasi baka later on hindi na po bumalik sa tin [ang buyers]," Alcala said.

Alcala pegs initial cost of damage to crops at P250 million to P300 million. Aside from bananas, typhoon Pablo also affected rice plantations, fishing communities, and irrigation infrastructure, the Agriculture chief said.

Typhoon Pablo has already killed 325 people and injured hundreds more, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Thursday morning. Meanwhile, 379 people have been reported missing.