“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, “ the Philippine Embassy in the United States announced.
The said shipment arrived last Sept 9, 2013 after sailing for forty days, through Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagaloan, Misamis Oriental. The Cavendish Bananas were exported by Dole Philippines located at Bukidnon province to Dole Food Company Inc.
“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.”
Eight years ago the Philippines requested to market bananas in the US as disclosed by Agriculture Attaché Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa.
Javelosa also said that Philippine bananas are among the best in the world, and there are opportunities 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.
Upon its arrival in the US mainland, it was transferred to a ripening warehouse, as witnessed by Javelosa, together with Consul General Hellen Barber Dela Vega and Trade Representative Jose Dinsay.
Javelosa conveyed the gratefulness of the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Embassy to the officials of US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, for working closely with the Bureau of Plant Industry to guarantee that the banana exports meets US phytosanitary requirements.
She further expressed her hope that the opening of the US market for Philippine bananas might boost the banana industry in the country, especially in Mindanao, which recently experienced some problems and currently on recovery brought about by recent typhoons damaging its banana plantations.
Javelosa further reiterated that 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.
Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) executive director Stephen Antig also expressed that banana exporters from Mindanao are hoping to ship an initial 250,000 boxes of Cavendish bananas to the US annually on a probationary consignment.
The highland bananas is marketed in the US under the Sweetio brand and should be in groceries as of writing of this article.