MANILA - Filipino banana farmers could earn as much as P5 billion every year from exports to Japan under an agreement between the Department of Agriculture and Japanese company Farmind, the Philippines' agriculture minister said Thursday.
The deal involves the development of 7,000 hectares in banana farms that can produce up to 20 million boxes of cavendish bananas annually, said Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.
The agreement was among $1.5 billion in trade deals that are expected to be reached during President Rodrigo Duterte's official visit to Japan this week.
It will be the second agreement in a month to boost banana exports after China lifted trade restrictions ahead of Duterte's visit to Beijing last week, which heralded a fresh start to relations that were strained by a bitter sea dispute.
Bananas are the second highest-earning agricultural export of the Philippines, next to coconut, Piñol said in a separate interview with DZMM.
Ninety percent of bananas in Asia are grown in the Philippines where the industry rakes earns $1.2 billion annually.