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14/09/2013: Philippines Becomes First Asian Country to Export Bananas to US with Arrival of Bukidnon Cavendish in Los Angeles

14 September 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Filipinos and Americans will finally have a taste of Philippine bananas with the arrival in California of the first shipment of highland cavendish from Bukidnon, the Philippine Embassy announced today.

With the arrival of the maiden shipment of 7.047 metric tons of highland bananas at the Port of Long Beach near Los Angeles, the Philippines has earned the distinction of being the first Asian country to export bananas to the United States, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said.

“With this shipment, we are hopeful that Philippine bananas would be able to find and satisfy a niche in the competitive US banana market,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “We also hope that this is the beginning of increased access of Philippine bananas in North America.”

The arrival of the shipment, which is the first of an estimated 3,000 metric tons that the US hopes to import from the Philippines this year, came almost eight years after the Philippines first requested market access for its bananas, according to Agriculture Attaché Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa.

"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 Javelosa.

The highland bananas, which will be marketed in the US under the Sweetio brand, were exported by Dole Philippines to Dole Food Company Inc. and were shipped from the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, on 20 August.

The bananas, which arrived on 9 September, have been transferred to a ripening warehouse and will be available in local stores in the Los Angeles area next week, according to Javelosa who witnessed the transfer of the shipment with Consul General Hellen Barber Dela Vega and Trade Representative Jose Dinsay.

Javelosa said the shipment puts the US in the list of overseas destinations for Philippine bananas that include Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, China, Singapore, the Middle East, Canada, Russia and Indonesia.

Javelosa expressed the gratitude of the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Embassy to officials of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture for working closely with the Bureau of Plant Industry to ensure that the banana exports meet US phytosanitary requirements.

She expressed hope that this new market for Philippine bananas can further help propel growth for the Philippine banana industry, especially in Mindanao, which is still recovering from the damage wrought by recent typhoons on banana plantations there.

Javelosa said the opening of the US and other new markets abroad for Philippine agriculture and fishery produce is in line with the direction Agriculture Secretary wants the Philippine agricultural service corps to take. ###


14 September 2013

BANANA SHIPMENT. The first shipment of Bukidnon highland cavendish is now stored at a ripening warehouse in Los Angeles and will be delivered to local stores next week.


14 September 2013

BANANA SHIPMENT. Consul General Hellen Barber Dela Vega, Agriculture Attache Josyline Javelosa and Trade Representative Jose Dinsay take a look at the first shipment of Philippine bananas to the United States.


14 September 2013

BANANA SHIPMENT. Bukidnon highland bananas in their Dole packaging


14 September 2013

BANANA SHIPMENT. Consul General Hellen Barber Dela Vega, Agriculture Attache Josyline Javelosa and Trade Representative Jose Dinsay with Yvonne Rentmeester, Dole Manager for Merchandising and Technical Services and Kerry Genglen of Umina Bros. Inc., pose with banana shipment at the ripening warehouse in Los Angeles.