By Ellayn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has turned over standard packing houses in Davao del Norte to allow small banana farmers to meet the phytosanitary standards required by international markets.
In a turnover ceremony last week, the following received the rehabilitated packing houses: Joselito Rabino of Barangay Kimamon, Sto. Tomas, worth P1.6 million; Rolly Rada Sr. of Sampao, Kapalong, worth P1.6 million; and Paul Jeffrey Cabasa of La Libertad, Sto. Tomas, worth P1.7 million.
Recipients of the new standard, clustered packing houses were Rey Bayoneta of Semong, Kapalong, worth P2.7 million; Davao Free Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DFFMPC) in Barangay. Bobongon Sto. Tomas, worth P2.6 million; and Kinsan Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Kinamayan, Sto. Tomas, worth P2.5 million.
DA High Value Crop Development Program (HVCDP) coordinator Melani Provido said the Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association Inc. (MBFEA) chose the recipients who are also their members.
“DA is pleased to partner with MBFEA in extending assistance to the small banana farmers in the region. These (packing houses) will boost the banana industry in Davao region to produce good-quality bananas for export,” Provido added.
For the industry to take advantage of the ASEAN economic integration, Provido said stakeholders must consider three factors:promotion of competitiveness through improved quality of bananas; higher productivity; and strong organization among stakeholders.
Recalling the rejection of China on the Philippine produced banana, Provido said, “we will see to it that we can produce good-quality bananas especially exporting to China. Having these standard packing houses will help us meet the standard maximum residue level (MRL) as required by other countries.”
Provido added that DA committed to support the banana industry since this is the dollar- earner commodity in the region.
Eusebia Delos Reyes, former MBFEA president, urged the beneficiaries to work hand in hand with DA to provide quality bananas.
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