Banana industry reels from P8B loss caused by 'Pablo'

Posted at 12/07/12 1:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Pablo has destroyed at least 10,000 hectares of banana plantations in the country, an industry association official said Thursday.

The loss translates to around P5.7 billion worth of fruits that should have been harvested by yearend, according to Stephen Antig, executive director of Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA).

"If we include the infrastructure, that would shoot up to P8 billion," he added.

Antig said the figure can still rise as some of their members are still accounting for the havoc brought about by the typhoon.

It would take around a year for banana farmers to rebuild teh plantations and harvest a new crop, he said.

"The average cost of rehabilitation for one hectare is P500,000 and it will cost us P5 billion to rehabilitate our plantations in the area," Antig said.

He fears that floods spawned by the typhoon might spread the Panama disease on bananas.

"We need the help of the government now like never before. We need to help the communities that depend on the plantations recover just as fast,” Antig said.

"We, the companies and the communities, cannot get out of this rut without the help of the government," he added.