LOCAL GOVTS URGED IN FIGHT VS. POLE-VAULTING IN BANANA EXPORT INDUSTRY
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Local government units in the Davao Region have been asked to join the campaign against “pole vaulting,”an illegal practice by banana growers of selling produce to companies other than the companies they had signed a contract with.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has expressed worry that the practice has grown into a serious problem.
Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario said pole-vaulting is an anomaly that caused billions of pesos of damage to the industry and unpaid taxes to the government.
Worried that the illegal selling could kill the banana export industry, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala has ordered the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to stop the practice that has been hounding the industry for decades.
The Cavendish banana export industry is one of the country’s biggest dollar-earning industries.
Andres Alemania, officer-in-charge of the Davao Region Plant Quarantine Service (PQS), an agency under the BPI, said Sec. Alcala has ordered a stop to the illegal practice.
The PQS serves as the regulator for fruit and vegetable producers and exporters.
PQS issues phytosanitary certificates to export commodities that are sourced from an accredited farm and packed in an accredited packinghouse. A phytosanitary certificate guarantees that commodities for export are free from pests and diseases.
Governor Rosario said pole-vaulting is an anomaly that caused billions of pesos of damage to the industry and unpaid taxes to the government.
The banana industry is the biggest revenue earner for Davao del Norte.
Del Rosario had urged a serious campaign against the anomalous practice to the point of asking local banks not to extend loans to the identified pole-vaulters.
Del Rosario is an industry veteran having been a top officer of Tagum Development Corporation (Tadeco), the Philippines’ top banana grower and exporter.
Tadeco, founded in the 70s by the late banana magnate Don Antonio Floirendo Sr., is the pioneering banana grower that made Davao del Norte the “banana capital” of the Philippines.
The Philippines is now ranked as one of the world’s top banana producers alongside Latin America countries.
Alemania said eradicating pole-vaulting is not an easy job and has sought the support of local authorities.
The local government units must help us because we have no police power in closing down the packing plants of the pole vaulters, said Alemania.