The Agriculture Department announced plans to engage small banana farmers cooperatives and associations to export Cavendish bananas to Russia and other Eastern European countries.
Trade Secretary Manuel Piñol said in a meeting with officials of banana farmers cooperatives of Compostela Valley in Davao City that the Eastern European market has 180 million consumers who have a large need for tropical fruits.
The Russian Federation market alone needs 150,000 boxes of fresh bananas every week, according to an executive of the Magnit Supermarket, one of the biggest supermarket chains in Russia with 12,500 outlets.
A group of European investors participated in the talks and conveyed their plan to establish a 7,000-hectare banana farm in the Bangsamoro Area.
The group said that while waiting for updates on the banana plantation project, the group was willing to buy Cavendish bananas from small independent farmers to supply the requirements of Easter European nations.
The Russian market alone has an annual expenditure of $5 billion for tropical fruits, mostly bananas.
Ecuador has a monopoly of the Russian banana market even if the Philippines enjoys a distinct advantage of shorter shipping time, according to the Agriculture Department.
Small banana farmers received an assurance from the department of support not only in terms of consolidating banana produce but also in shipping.
The department also assured the farmers that it would provide production support like solar irrigation facilities and fertilizers.
Farmers are expected to benefit from a long-term marketing agreement with Russia which would assure them of a large market with a fixed price for their produce.