China accepts Philippine bananas again, but...

By Edith Regalado, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 22 2012 02:58 AM | Updated as of Jun 23 2012 12:10 AM

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – China has again started taking in Philippine bananas but under very strict quality control, President Aquino said on Wednesday.

“There are those who were able to do a ‘short cut’ in sending their bananas to China,” the President said. “Short cut” means skipping screening procedures in the Philippines. An organization of banana growers and exporters confirmed China’s easing of restrictions on Philippine bananas.

“Yes, Philippine bananas are back in the China market but still under stringent measures and inspection. If you’re lucky, then you get in, but if not, you have no recourse but China will really send your bananas back home,” Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) executive director Stephen Antig told The STAR.

He related the case of a small grower of Cavendish banana whose exports – or at least part of them – were accepted by China.

“Out of the four container vans that the grower exported to China, two were sent back because these were found to have been positive for mealy bugs,” Antig said.

But he stressed the situation is still “very fluid.”

“It is not that easy for our bananas to enter China again,” he said.

China earlier banned Philippine bananas, citing mealy bugs infestation. The ban was imposed in March or a month before the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal standoff involving Philippine vessels and a larger number of Chinese ships.