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Philippines: Bananas a major economic growth driver of Southern Mindanao
Time:26 Aug 2010
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The banana industry will be the main focus of this year's Davao Trade Expo (Date), according to event officials.

Date is an annual event that showcases the products of Southern Mindanao region, which is made up of the Davao del Sur and del Norte provinces, Davao City, and Compostela Valley.

Date 2010 chair Wit Holganza said banana has become the major economic growth driver of the region during the past years that it prompted them to put it on the center stage of the trade exposition.

There has been a growing demand for bananas both in the local and foreign markets based on recent statistics, Holganza said during Date 2010's launching at the Marco Polo here Friday.

Date 2010 will formally start on Nov. 5.

Holganza said Date 2010 would also feature the 1st Philippine Global Banana Summit, which would bring together Philippine and foreign business leaders from banana producing countries.

She said that during the conference, stakeholders in the banana industry would discuss issues on aerial spraying.

Cause-oriented groups have filed court cases against aerial spraying, on the grounds that it is dangerous to human health.

"We feel that focusing on banana industry via the summit is the best platform to address issues, among others, the aerial spray. And while the Philippines takes the lead in banana export, there are similarly other countries with strong banana industry. We can bring together key markets at the same time and explore their expertise," Holganza said.

Quoting reports, Holganza said the economic importance of the banana industry could no longer be ignored.

She said economic managers have predicted a 20 percent growth in global banana demand in the next decade.

Teololu Pasawa, director of the Department of Industry (DTI) in the city, said the banana industry has been helping a lot of people.Pasawa said a hectare of banana would need four workers.

At this ratio, the estimated 60,000 hectares planted to cavendish banana in major banana plantations in Davao City alone, have employed about 240,000 workers, he said.

Robert Quinto, chair of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCI), said the establishment of a banana institution would also be discussed.

The banana institution, he said, could either be government- or private sector-led.

Carlos Mendoza, director of the Department of Agriculture in Southern Mindanao, said the concept of a banana institute was significant not only in research and development but other areas as well.

By focusing on R&D, other potential agriculture varieties could be explored and the aspect of biodiversity would be extensively applied, he said.

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