Filipino farmers in conflict-wracked Maguindanao will supply bananas to a Japanese supermarket chain under an agreement that will be signed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Tokyo this week, his agriculture minister said Tuesday.
A 50,000-hectare banana plantation, which can produce up to 20 million boxes of the fruit annually, will be dedicated to the deal that is also expected to generate 100,000 jobs, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
“First time that they really specified na bibili kami ng saging pero gusto namin na manggagaling sa conflict areas,” he told radio DZMM.
Japan is supporting the Philippines’ efforts to end a four-decade-long Muslim insurgency in the south.
Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it funded the construction of a leadership academy in Maguindanao, where Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels are based.
The Philippines can meet Japanese demand for bananas despite reported cases of fusarium or “Panama disease,” which wilts banana trees in several Mindanao plantations, Piñol said.
Source and image: ABS CBN News