PH exporters remain optimistic despite dealing with higher costs amid Ukraine-Russia war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 17) — Philippine exporters are still optimistic for their industry’s performance for the latter half of the year despite being bugged by higher costs fueled primarily by the ongoing tension between Ukraine and Russia.

“We are looking up because as of now, the world is getting to normal so we are looking that the situation will be back to normal. Maybe we can export more in the future, this second half of the year,” Ruben See, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, told CNN Philippines’ The Exchange.

For Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, the market for local bananas remains attractive.

“All we have to do is maintain our quality and increase volume of production by doing research and trying to contain the further spread of this TR4 disease in banana plantations,” argued PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig.

Asked about the impact of the ongoing war, See said that food processors are heavily affected by current world scenario after losing their markets in Ukraine, Russia, and nearby areas.

See also listed down a number of problems the export sector faces as fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted higher costs of fuel, electricity, and shipping rate, which already reached ₱15,000 to ₱20,000 per 40-foot container when pre-pandemic rate amounted to ₱3,000 to ₱5,000.

For the banana industry, Antig said there is the fear that Latin American producers may further eat up their market share as the war between the countries goes on.

He urged the new administration to set up a research and development facility that will improve the country’s agriculture sector as a whole.

A strong agriculture sector can help produce better and more competitive banana varieties, as well as generate varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases, Antig said.

All these will contribute to boosting local production and maintaining the quality of Philippine bananas, he added.