Category Archives: davao banaas

TADECO EXEC BARES THREATS TO PHILIPPINE BANANAS

tadeco lab
 

Anflo Group of Companies President and CEO Alexander Valoria (far left) leads the ribbon cutting of the receiving area of Tadeco’s Agro-Technology Outreach Program Monday in Magsaysay, Carmen, Davao del Norte. In photo with him are (from second left to right) Mayor Leah Marie Moral-Romano of B.E Dujali, MBFEA Executive Director Evelyn Magno, Anflocor SVP Ricardo R. Floirendo, Mayor James Gamao of Panabo, PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig, Mayor Virginia Perandos of Carmen and Mayor Daniel Batosalem of Sto. Tomas.

 

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Low produce in the Philippines and increased production in banana-growing countries in  Latin America are the major threats to the Philippine banana industry, said Alexander Valoria, president of Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).

Valoria bared these current scenarios as Tadeco opened on March 12, 2018, three state-of-the art laboratory facilities  aimed to increase banana production in the Davao region. Banana producer and exporter Tadeco is based in Davao del Norte, but also operates plantations in other areas of the region.

“From 2011 to 2016, annual fresh banana exports of the Philippines dropped by 50 million boxes. In the same time frame, annual banana exports from Central and South America increased by 137 million boxes, said Valoria.

Bananas from Central and South America are now going worldwide, while the Philippines is stuck to its old markets.

“We see (today) their bananas in China, Japan, Korea and the Middle East in increasing numbers,” Valoria said.

Even the Asian market, the Philippine bananas’ lifeblood, may see an invasion.

 “Central and South American banana associations (have said) that they will continue to penetrate the Asian market.  We cannot allow them to do that. Together, as the Philippine banana industry, we must meet and defeat that threat to our markets,” said the president of the Philippines’ largest producer and exporter of Cavendish bananas.

 “That can only be achieved if our industry will produce much more banana exports. We need to regain the ground that we lost in our Asian markets and even threaten their own US and European markets with Philippine bananas,” he said.

Increased production is at the bottom line of the state-of-the-art laboratories recently launched by Tadeco.

The three facilities, with local investment of P100 Million and a grant from the Dutch government, consist of a pathology (pest and diseases), tissue culture and trichoderma laboratories.

According to Valoria, companies and farmer-growers can avail of the facilities at minimal fees.

These laboratory services and products are integral towards increasing production, said Valoria.

Here is Valoria’s thoughts on TADECO’s trailblazing Agro-technical outreach program, first published by Jimmy Laking in Edge Davao:

“Today is a milestone in our continuing effort to improve production in terms of both quality and volume in our banana business and also for other agricultural crops.  It is the culmination of the hard work of tadeco’s research team led by Dr. Corcolon, the company’s investment of over P100m and even a grant from the Dutch government through their Promo Banana Project.

Today we launch Tadeco’s AgroTechnical Outreach Program that makes world class laboratory services that are so critical for our agricultural operations available right here in the middle of Davao del Norte. We made that commitment to many of our fellow Bananeros and to government. And today it is a reality.

To be able to check on soil nutrient status, diagnosis of diseases through conventional and molecular approaches eg for FW in plants or soil or in water, root health status, active ingredient analysis for formulated products, analysis of fertilizers, etc. quickly and here in Davao del Norte will be a huge advantage for the banana industry.  Furthermore, we will be selling tissue cultured planting material that is FW tolerant as well as selling trichoderma packs that we ourselves use extensively and consider integral to our program against FW.

Last year 2017, Tadeco achieved new production records. Tadeco produced 35.99 million boxes. Our ABC farms produced another 3 million boxes for an aggregate of 39 million boxes.  The planation average yield was 5,400 boxes per hectare, overall for Tadeco.  I congratulate the Tadeco team for such an accomplishment!

Obviously, such production and quality levels could not have been reached without the advantage of a world class agricultural laboratory and technical personnel. We want to share this advantage with the rest of the banana industry and that is why today is important for all of us.

From 2011 to 2016, annual fresh banana exports of the Philippines dropped by 50 million boxes. In the same time frame, annual banana exports from Central and South America increased by 137 million boxes. Thus we see their bananas in China, Japan, Korea and the ME in increasing numbers. In the last Corbana meeting, C and South American banana associations stated clearly that they will continue to penetrate the Asian market.  We cannot allow that to do that. Together, as the Philippine banana industry, we must meet and defeat that threat to our markets. That can only be achieved if our industry will produce much more banana exports. We need to regain the ground that we lost in our Asian markets and even threaten their own US and European markets with Philippine bananas. These laboratory services and products will be integral to the success of those objectives.”

 

DAVAO EXECS RALLY BEHIND TADECO VS. ALVAREZ

MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT FEARED

BEBOT ALVAREZ

Local government officials of Davao del Norte are rallying behind the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) citing the banana company’s contribution  to the economic development of the province.

TADECO, the largest banana producer and exporter in the country based in the province, is being hounded by House Speaker Napoleon Alvarez with cancellation of a land deal the company entered into with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
Alvarez has instigated the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the Joint Venture  Agreement  (JVA)  between TADECO and BuCor covering more than 5,000 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony. He has also raised the issue to the Department of Justice.
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In an apparent displeasure at Alvarez, local executives of  Davao del Norte at the barangay and municipal levels have expressed their personal and official position against Alvarez and his attempt to have the House declare the JVA as illegal, and their support to the TADECO-BuCor deal.
TADECO is one of the biggest taxpayer and employer in the province and is credited for its contribution to its economic development.
Mayor Virginia Perandos of the municipality of Carmen pointed out that “TADECO has been playing a major role in the development of the entire province of Davao del Norte in general, and brought quality standard of living for the people with its employment opportunities, including many of the BuCor inmates.”
As part of a penal rehabilitation program for prisoners, TADECO hires inmates paid with minimu wage as workers in the area of the JVA that the company developed into a banana plantation.
Mayor Perandos’ support for TADECO was officially translated by members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Carmen on May 23 with approval of a resolution of support to the TADECO-BuCor JVA.
The resolution said that the “presence of banana companies including Tadeco boosted the economic activity not only of the Municipality of Carmen but throughout the Davao Region.” 
The resolution also noted that TADECO and the other banana-producing farms in Davao helped transform Carmen into a first-class municipality in the province.
Massive unemployment in case Alvarez succeeds in having the JVA cancelled is the primary reason for the support for TADECO of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sto. Tomas.
In a resolution adopted on May 22, the local legislative body said that it is backing the BuCor-Tadeco accord “so as not to displace the thousand of workers and its contribution to the economic development of the communities and country.”
Its resolution likewise stated that Tadeco “contributed to the development of the economy in Mindanao through its huge plantation of Cavendish banana that provided employment to thousands of workers, more particularly from the Municipality of Sto. Tomas and other adjacent municipalities and cities within the Province of Davao del Norte.”
Associations of barangays are not to be left out  and have also passed resolutions supporting TADECO and expressing dismay at Alvarez’s move.
The Liga ng Mga Barangay of Sto. Tomas, unanimously adopted a resolution last May 18 expressing support for the JVA, which it said, “helped to rehabilitate the inmates inside the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) and prepare them for their eventual reintegration to society by providing them with a decent means of livelihood while serving their sentences to become a productive citizen in the community.
The Liga ng Mga Barangay of the Island Garden City of Samal noted in its  May 10 resolution that the JVA provides employment to hundreds of workers in all of the 46 barangays within the city.
“Tadeco, Inc. extends various services to the community in terms of providing health- and education-related programs that values health and wellness of its employees and their families and grants full scholarship to qualified dependents to strengthen its corporate social responsibility through its programs and activities that being implemented to its nearby communities within the Province of Davao del Norte,” the resolution read.

Davao LGUs back Tadeco-BuCor agreement

Several local government units (LGUs) and organizations in  Davao del Norte have expressed their full support to the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor)  and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc.(TADECO), given that the accord has been  a key factor in creating jobs  and revving up the economies of their respective communities.

Davao_del_norte_provincial_capitolThe JVA between BuCor and Tadeco involves the development of a banana plantation inside the  Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) with the primary goal of rehabilitating inmates housed inside the prison compound.

The legislative bodies of Panabo City, and of the municipalities of Carmen, Sto. Tomas, and Dujali  were among the LGUs that have cited the countless economic and social benefits that the JVA has brought to their respective localities. 

TADECOLast May 29, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Panabo adopted a resolution “earnestly supporting the joint venture agreement” between TADECO and BuCor, which it said has a “vast contribution  to the economy of the neighboring cities and municipalities  within the Davao Region.”

In its resolution, the Sangguniang Panlungsod said the TADECO-BuCor agreement “had [been] reviewed and approved by no less than Six (6) Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretaries, namely, Juan Ponce Enrile (1968-1970),  Vicente Abad Santos (1970-1979), Ricardo C. Puno (1979), Catalino Macaraig Jr. (1979-1981), Sedfrey Ordonez (1987-1990), Simeon Datumanong (2003), and Raul Gonzales (w004-2007).

“It has also passed through fourteen (14) Secretaries of Justice who upheld its validity,” the Sanggunian also said in its resolution.

The resolution pointed out that “inmates had job opportunities provided by the said JVA that helped them realize their goals and made their lives more useful to their families and the community.”

Mayor Virginia Perandos of the municipality of Carmen pointed out that “TADECO has been playing (a major role) in the development of the entire province of Davao del Norte in general, and brought quality standard of living for  the people with its employment opportunities, including many of the BuCor inmates.”

esolution unanimously adopted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Carmen on May 23 expressed its support to the JVA, and said the “presence of banana companies including Tadeco boost the economic activity not only of the Municipality of Carmen, but throughout the Davao Region.” 

The resolution likewise noted that TADECO and the other banana-producing farms in Davao helped transform Carmen into a first-class  municipality in the province.

The Liga ng mga Barangay of Carmen has also adopted a separate resolution backing the BuCor-Tadeco JVA. “Fifty percent of our labor force are working [in companies like TADECO, Dole Philippines and other agro-industrial establishments in the locality and other neighboring cities and municipalities,” the Liga said in its resolution. 

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of Braulio E. Dujali pointed out in its Resolution dated May 25 that besides creating jobs, providing revenues for the municipality,  and constructing roads and other infrastructure, TADECO has also regularly conducted medical outreach programs for the town’s “poor communities through the Antonio O. Floirendo Foundation” and helped the town realize “its electrification program which benefited a good number of households and even those located in the outskirts of this town.” 

The Braulio E. Dujali chapter of the Liga ng mga Barangay have also come out in support of the JVA, stating in its unanimously adopted resolution that “Tadeco is one of the highest-yielding banana plantations in the world that provides employment to thousands of workers.”

The Sangguniang Bayan of Sto. Tomas said in a separate resolution adopted on May 22  that it is backing the BuCor-Tadeco accord “so as not to displace the thousand workers and its contribution to the economic development of the communities and country

Its resolution likewise stated that Tadeco “contributed to the development of the economy in Mindanao through its huge plantation of Cavendish banana that provided employment to thousands of workers, more particularly from the Municipality of Sto. Tomas and other adjacent municipalities and cities within the Province of Davao del Norte.”

The Liga ng Mga Barangay of Sto. Tomas, meanwhile, unanimously adopted a resolution last May 18 supporting the JVA, which it said, “helped to rehabilitate the inmates inside the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) and prepare them for their eventual reintegration to society by providing them with a decent means of livelihood while serving their sentences to become a productive citizen in the community.”

The Liga ng Mga Barangay of the Island Garden City of Samal  noted in its  May 10 resolution that the JVA provides employment to hundreds of workers in all of the 46 barangays within the city.

“TADECO, Inc. extends various services to the community in terms of providing health- and education-related programs that values health and wellness of its employees and their families and grants full scholarship to qualified dependents to strengthen its corporate social responsibility through its programs and activities that being implemented to its nearby communities within the Province of Davao del Norte,” the resolution read.

 

HOUSE STARTS PROBE ON TADECO-BUCOR DAPECOL LAND DEAL

TADECO PAID P438 MILLION IN TAXES IN 2016

TADECOThe Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (TADECO) paid nearly half a billion pesos in taxes in 2016, belying allegations its agreement to develop idle prison lands into a banana plantation was “disadvantageous” to the government.

An audited financial statement obtained from the giant Cavendish banana growing and exporting  company, revealed that in 2016 alone, Tadeco paid to the government  P438 million representing taxes and fees. The payments included real property taxes, business permits and fees, withholding tax on compensation, fringe benefits, and regulatory fees.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has called for a congressional investigation into the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Tadeco and the  Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) over unproductive lands of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) in Sto. Tomas town in Davao del Norte.

The JVA was first signed in 1956. It was last renewed in 2013, after a review by Congress.

banana

Under the JVA, Tadeco developed the land into a banana plantation without the government spending a single centavo. And as the JVA was primarily aimed as a rehabilitation program for inmates, Tadeco hired prisoners of Dapecol as workers paid with minimum wage.

Of the about  8,000 current workers  employed in the banana farm under the JVA area, more than  1,000 are male inmates doing farm work and at least 100 women prisoners assigned to the packing plants.

Due to its success as a rehabilitation program for prisoners, BuCor is planning to adopt the TADECO-Bucor JVA for implementation in Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan.

Tadeco, founded by the late banana magnate Don Antonio Floirendo in the 60s, is credited with the economic progress of once dormant Davao del Norte. The pioneering Tadeco has also placed the country in the map of the world’s largest banana-producing countries.  

Today it continues to pump-prime the country’s economy, and that of Davao del Norte and neighboring provinces of the Davao Region where it extended its banana plantations, with revenues from export Cavendish bananas, one of the country’s biggest dollar earners.

In its statement on financial benefits and assistance to Dapecol and its inmates and the community, Tadeco shelled out P1.62 billion over a 12-year period (2004-2016).

Tadeco’s biggest spending – P2.2 billion went to cultivation of the 5,300-hectare land covered by the JVA, at P400,000 per hectare in development cost.

In calling for a House inquiry, Alvarez (First District, Davao del Norte), said the Tadeco-Bucor JVA was “grossly disadvantageous” to the government.

On the prodding of Alvarez, the House committee on Justice and the committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability, were to begin conduct of a joint committee hearing on May 9.

ALVAREZ DLOIRENDO 2

Aside from his House resolution to conduct the probe, Alvarez also has filed a graft complaint at the Ombudsman in connection with the JVA against Davao del Norte First District Representative Antonio Floirendo, Jr., son the late Don Antonio.

Alvarez said Rep. Floirendo has “pecuniary interest” in Tadeco, and was a sitting congressman who failed to divest himself of his interest in the company  when the renewal of the JVA was approved by Congress in 2013.

Alexander N. Valoria, president and CEO of the Antonio O. Floirendo Management and Investment Corp. (Anflocor), has disputed Alvarez’s claim, saying the Tadeco-BuCor JVA, is “legal and advantageous to the government.”

“The JVA has been reviewed, and found to be advantageous to the government numerous times by the Executive and the Legislative departments in past administrations,” Valoria said, adding that “the most recent review in the 15th Congress in 2012 once again arrived at the same positive conclusion regarding the JVA and its benefits to the government.”

Alvarez’s call on the House to probe the Tadeco-Bucor JVA and his filing of the graft charge against Rep. Floirendo was a surprise.

Both are from Davao del Norte and are long-time friends and political allies who backed the presidential bid of President Rodrigo Duterte.

SNAKE IN THE GRASS

In Davao del Norte, it is well-known that Alvarez’ politics had long been nurtured by the Floirendos.

Reports said that the fall-out between the two was sparked by the reported public quarrel between their two partners, and by rumors that Floirendo was behind a plot to replace the Speaker with former President now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which Floirendo had denied.

Anti-aerial spray group linked to communist rebels

aerial spraying

Anti-aerial spray group linked to communist rebels

BY RIGOR ZABALA

Communist rebels and alleged environmental groups batting for a total ban of aerial spraying in banana plantations in the Philippines could be sharing the same agenda to cripple down the banana industry — one of the country’s biggest dollar earners.

npaThe New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP, carried out this year about a dozen attacks on banana plantations in Mindanao, according to reports.

Early this year, the Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Aerial Spraying (MAAS), a non-government organization (NGO) and a partner of another anti-aerial spraying NGO, Interface Development Initiatives (IDIS), renewed calls for a ban on aerial by prodding the Supreme Court to fast-track decision on Davao City Ordinance 0309-07 which banned serial spraying in the city. MAAS and IDIS front-lined the lobby for the passage of  the ordinance which was approved by the Davao City Council in 2007. The Davao City aerial spraying ban has reached the High Court as the banana industry questioned the legality of the ordinance.

The NPA attacks on the banana plantations where they burned equipment and raided company armories have taken a severe toll particularly on workers.

Over 1,500 farm workers and employees have lost their jobs when Dole-Stanfilco, a multinational banana firm in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, shut down its operations on its 400 hectare plantation this year. The closure followed a series of attacks against the company by the NPA allegedly for refusing to pay revolutionary taxes.

 Severely affected workers displaced by the closure are questioning the real motives of NGOs against aerial spraying who claim to be for the people, now that agricultural plantations are being attacked and its employees harassed by the NPA.

The rebel atrocities are risks to people’s health and the environment which are the same concerns raised by the NGOs in opposing aerial spraying said Eduardo Maningo, a spokesman for the Agrarian Land Reform Beneficiaries  (ARBs).

Maningo said  said he sees a mutual pattern of destruction in the series of attacks by the NPAs and the renewed calls by MAAS and IDIS on the ban on aerial spraying.

“Why is it that (MAAS and IDIS) which have always been vocal about their apparent concern about the welfare of farm workers are silent about the atrocities committed by these lawless elements? Why are they not indignant that these workers’ livelihood and well beings are being threatened by the rebels?” Maningo asked.

Reports said that a dozen attacks were carried out by the NPA from late January to February this year, almost the same as the total for the whole of 2015.

“Are these NPA bombings and torching of farms and equipment not an alarming immediate threat to lives and the environment?’” Maningo added.  

“We can’t help but think that these groups (MAAS and IDIS) are one with the rebels with the same goal – which is to shut down the banana industry. The workers are just poor collaterals,” Maningo lamented.

Aerial spraying is an agricultural practice accepted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Aerial spraying ensures farm productivity and quality and prevents diseases in banana plantations. The practice is the strongest armor of banana plantations against the deadly leaf diseases Sigatoka, which crippled the banana industry in South America years ago.

MAAS and IDIS in lobbying for the ban claimed aerial spraying posed risk to people and environment, which was refuted by PBGEA.

Stephen Antig, PBGEA executive director, earlier said the claims are “unsupported and baseless.”

These groups are fond of parroting claims they cannot support. The case is already in the Supreme Court, we want the truth to actually come out. Let the Supreme Court decide based on the merits of the case, said Antig as the NGOs renewed their call for the ban.

PBGEA said all allegations against aerial spraying have been refuted by scientists. On the ground,  farm workers and residents around the plantations assert that their environment have remained highly conducive for healthy living, farming and raising animals. The residents also swear, during public hearings conducted by the Davao City Council, that they have been living healthy lives for more than three decades, even with the plantations employing aerial spray.

A report published in Biz-Buzz Inquirer a year ago cited that environmental groups pushing for the ban of aerial spraying in the Philippines are being financially backed by some organizations in Netherlands with vested interest in the banana growing and exporting industry in Indonesia, once a colony of the Netherlands. 

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CLOSURE OF MORE MINDANAO BANANA PLANTATIONS FEARED

Antig said the NPA attacks are now driving  away from Mindanao local and foreign investors in banana growing.

The government should pay more attention to the insurgency problem because “it is driving the present and prospective investors away from Mindanao. Obviously, the closure of plantations will lead to unemployment and then poverty,” said Antig.

The government will also lose revenues from property taxes, business permits, VAT and income taxes, among others if the threat to the banana industry continues and investors pack their bags and close down their plantations.

Antig said the banana industry is serious on its corporate social responsibility to ensure the health of people and the environment as they operate under strict compliance to government regulations.

“Those who are pushing for a ban on aerial spraying should see for themselves how the industry is mindful of the health of the people and the protection of the environment,” said Antig. 

Banana plantations account for 83,000 hectares in Mindanao and at an average of four direct and indirect workers, the banana industry employs 332,000 workers. Together with the workers’ families, more than three million individuals are dependent on the banana export industry.