Ahead of Duterte’s visit, China lifts suspension on fruit exports

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Two weeks before President Rody Duterte’s State Visit, the Chinese government has announced that it will lift the suspension imposed earlier on Filipino companies exporting bananas and pineapple to the country.

The country’s ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, also formally informed the Department of Agriculture (DA) that China would also be opening up its market to other high value commercial crops like mangoes, coconut and dragon fruit, high-end fisheries products such as Lapu-Lapu, crabs, shrimps, prawns and tuna and bangus.

Ambassador Zhao, in a recent visit to the Dept. of Agriculture office, said that Philippine agriculture products would soon be sold in major cities in China, a move which is expected to boost the growth of Philippine agriculture.

The Chinese government indicated that it would also increase the volume of bananas, pineapples and other agricultural products that it is importing from the Philippines.

Ambassador Zhao personally conveyed to DA Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat the invitation of the Chinese government for the Philippine Agriculture Secretary to join the Presidential State Visit because of major agreements in the area of agriculture which are expected to be discussed and signed.

Among the major issues in agriculture which are expected to be discussed during President Duterte’s visit are the continued technical cooperation between China and the Philippines and assistance in the establishment of cold storage chain and irrigation systems all over the country.

The Chinese ambassador expressed interest in the renewal of its Five-Year Development Program with Philippines noting that the joint committee involved in the program has not met since 2008.

The DA informed the Chinese Ambassador that it is interested in a technical cooperation in farmland irrigation technology, expansion in the production, processing, and trade of agricultural products and projects which would promote diversification, off and non-farm enterprises during agri-processing, postharvest and marketing assistance for agricultural products, as well as on high-value commercial crops.

Following the diplomatic row over the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, several Philippine companies exporting banana and pineapple were ordered suspended by the Chinese government citing sanitary issues.

The lifting of the ban on banana and pineapple exports will come as a big relief to the agriculture sector which registered a negative performance of .4% in the first quarter of 2016.

Philippine companies which will be covered by the lifting of the suspension are:

· Sumifru
· Banana Brothers, Inc.
· Evita Banana Trading Company, Inc.
· Nader and Ibrahim S/O Hassan Phils., Inc.
· Tagum Agricultural Development Trade Co., Inc.
· TVEM Links International Co.
· Stanfilco Division of DOLE Philippines, Inc.
· Phil pack
· Continental Farm Corporation
· Lapanday Diversified Products Corporations

The country’s banana, coconut and pineapple are among the biggest dollar earners benefitting millions of farming families.

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