Fil-Ams urged to buy Bukidnon bananasBy Nimfa U. Rueda
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES—The Philippine government has urged Filipino-Americans to buy highland cavendish bananas from Bukidnon, which will hit selected stores here this weekend.
“For us to successfully penetrate the highly competitive US banana market, we need to show that there is a strong demand for highland cavendish from the Philippines,” Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. said in a statement.
Cuisia made the appeal after four more companies expressed interest in joining Dole Philippines in competing for a slice of the large US market that has long been dominated by exporters from Latin America.
The Philippines became the first Asian country to export bananas to the United States when 7 metric tons of the Bukidnon bananas arrived at the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 9. It was part of the estimated 3,000 metric tons that the US plans to import from the Philippines this year.
The Bukidnon bananas, marketed under Dole’s Sweetio brand, will be available at Gelsons stores in Encino, Century City, Tarzana, Newport Beach, Pacific Palisades, Calabasas, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, West Hollywood and Hollywood and in the Walmart stores in Baldwin Park, Corona and City of Industry, according to the Dole Fresh Fruit Company, a subsidiary of Dole Food Co. Inc.
“The US is the largest single country importer of bananas with a per capita consumption of 25 pounds,” Agriculture Attaché Josyline Javelosa said, in a statement. The Filipino-American community on the West Coast can play a crucial role in creating “that niche market” for Philippine bananas in the competitive US market, she said.
The Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association said the four member-companies interested in exporting their highland cavendish to the US are the Dizon Group; Nader & Ebrahim S/O Hassan Philippines Inc.; Lapanday Foods Corporation; and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. of the Anflo Group of Companies.