Chinese banana trader doubles orders from Davao planters

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Chinese banana industry players, on a tour organized by GoodFarmer Banana Trading Corp., watch and take photos of the operations of Tagum Agricultural Development Co., Inc. in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte. -- CARMELITO Q. FRANCISCO

By Carmelito Q. Francisco

DAVAO CITY — China’s GoodFarmer Banana Trading Corp. is increasing its banana purchases from Davao producers to 300 containers from 150 containers a week between this year and 2019, a company official said last week.

GoodFarmer Country Manager Michael Li said the company, among the biggest sellers of bananas in China, is also looking at expanding its market by exploring new areas.

“There is still a big requirement for bananas in China; we can still grow our market,” Mr. Li said during a tour of about 30 stakeholders from Guangzhou province to the banana farms of Davao del Norte.

The group said the banana industry in the region is efficient and modern, citing the packing houses of the Tagum Agricultural Development Co., Inc. (Tadeco) in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.

“We never see a packing house like this in China,” Mr. Li said, noting that some of the visitors, including growers and suppliers, “want to know about the best practices of the local banana industry.”

Last year, GoodFarmer signed a marketing agreement with Tadeco subsidiary Anflo Banana Corp. for about 840,000 boxes of Class A bananas annually for two years.

The bananas will be sourced from Anflo Banana’s farms in Pantukan, Compostela Valley and Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental.

In 2015, government data show China bought about 448,000 boxes of fresh bananas from Philippine growers.

Apart from the Philippines, GoodFarmer also imports banana from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Vietnam.

The other agricultural commodities it buys from the Philippines are pineapples from Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City, and dragon fruit from Biñan, Laguna.

GoodFarmer, which started operations in Davao City in 2011, also exports to the Philippines agricultural products from China such as garlic, ginger and apple.

“We have grown very fast here,” Mr. Li said.