Japanese firm to import $220-M bananas yearly | mb.com.ph | Philippine News
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Japanese firm to import $220-M bananas yearly

Tokyo, Japan — A leading Japanese fruit distribution company is keen on importing an additional $220 million worth of bananas from the Philippines yearly starting next year.

The agreement tapping Filipino farmers and rebel-returnees in Mindanao to supply 20 million boxes of bananas to Farmind Corporation will be forged during President Duterte’s visit to Tokyo.

The President arrived in Japan on Tuesday for a three-day official visit to Japan to enhance the country’s economic and defense relations with the strategic partner in the region.

“We will sign a MOU (memorandum of understanding) tomorrow (Wednesday) with your government and that to assist this rebel returnees, providing them opportunities to come to this market,” Tatsuo Horiuchi, Farmind President and CEO, said in a media interview here on Tuesday.

“We’re taking about 20 million boxes as a target from the Philippines and which is about maybe less than 30 percent of total Japan market. Total Japan market is about 70 million boxes,” he added.

Asked how soon the banana imports will be made, Horiuchi said: “Banana takes one year to grow so any time all the set up started in Philippines, production starts a year from now.”

The planned banana imports of 22 million boxes would cost around $220 million a year, he added.

Once the agreement is signed, Horiuchi expressed confidence that Japan would have a “very stable supply” of bananas from the Philippines.

Farmind Corp. currently imports 70 percent of bananas from the Philippines and 30 percent from Central America. The importation was scaled down from 100 percent three years ago due to drought and other problems hampering banana supply.

Farmind, which is involved in fruit and vegetable distribution, covers 40 percent of banana supply in Japan.

“Japan and Philippines have long relationship than any Asian countries and economic relationships. Banana is one of the most typical product coming to Japan,” the official said.