Department of Agriculture vows to help local banana exporters to Japan

April 16, 2019
Emmanuel Piñol

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has committed to personally bring the request of the local banana exporters to the Japanese government to lift stricter tests for chemical residue and ensure faster access of their produce to the said country.

Piñol made the commitment in response to the letter request sent to him by the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA)  in resolving the Japanese government’s implementation of 100 per cent testing of Philippine banana exports in August 2018.

The Japanese’ policy was implemented following the discovery of some bananas from the Philippines that contained residues of Fipronil insecticides beyond the maximum limit imposed by Japanese food safety standards.

In a letter to Piñol, the PBGEA members said the 100% testing requirement could hurt Philippine exports especially during the Golden Week holiday in Japan from April 28 to May 6 when limited or no cargo inspections are expected. PBGEA members export 50% of their bananas to Japan.

Piñol said the BPI immediately instituted a stricter Philippine assessment process with new protocols and has sent the Japanese government a list of Philippine companies that it certifies to comply with the Japanese MRL standards.

Piñol said he will present to Japanese officials the new protocols and assessment process implemented by the Philippine government and the banana exporters to assure them Filipino bananas comply with their food safety standards.