MANILA, Philippines – The first batch of fresh Philippine bananas has finally arrived in the United States, the Philippine Embassy in the US announced Sunday.
A shipment of 7.047 metric tons of highland cavendish from Bukidnon arrived September 9 in California, making the Philippines the first Asian country to export bananas to the US.
“With this shipment, we are hopeful that Philippine bananas would be able to find and satisfy a niche in the competitive US banana market,” said Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr.
The shipment came after eight years of negotiations with the US on quarantine and sanitation issues.
“Philippine bananas are among the best in the world and there is opportunity to bring in the unique and special banana varieties like lakatan and latondan, which Filipinos in the US have long been craving for and which Americans can learn to love,” said Agriculture attaché Dr. Josyline Javelosa.
Javelosa said the shipment, a first of an estimated 3,000 metric tons from Dole Philippines, was transferred to a ripening warehouse and will soon be available in the Los Angeles market.
She said they are hoping that the new market will help the Philippine banana industry, especially Mindanao which is recovering from the onslaught of the recent typhoons.
With the successful shipment, US joined other Philippine banana importers – Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, China, Singapore, the Middle East, Canada, Russia and Indonesia.
Bananas are among the country’s dollar earners.