Strong peso wallops Davao’s banana growers

May. 28, 2007

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The growing strength of the Philippine peso has adversely affected the country’s banana growers, with the Pilipino Banana Growers Association (PBGEA) based here saying the appreciation of the currency occurred at a bad time.

Last week, the peso broke the 45 peso to the dollar mark and is expected to grow stronger in the comings days.

To mitigate the impact of the strong peso, the PBGEA said today it will ask the government to cut down on its fees for banana exporters. The Davao region is the top banana producer in the country.

In an interview, PBGEA president Stephen Antig he said they were already worried when the peso reached P47 to $1.

This is not a happy time for the exporter and we are hoping government will be able to help us cushion the impact of the appreciating peso, Antig said.

He said when they prepared their budget, their reference was P56 to $1. With the exchange rates at present, they expect their revenues to go down. The government, he saud, already reduced export fees but that the industry want government to make the lowering of fees permanent.

Antig said they also need to consider the petition of the labor sector for a P75 wage adjustment. Right now, he said, the industry had to introduce cost-cutting measures but that is all that we can do.

He said they are not going to retrench workers but instead will look at how to increase productivity and efficiency.

Antig also said that they are now finalizing a petition to the government, through PhilExport, that would reaffirm an earlier resolution addressed to consider schemes that would ease the plight of the exporters. (PIA XI/Prix Banzon)

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