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Filipino banana growers plead for Japanese consumers to bear price hikes

TOKYO, June 8 (Reuters)The Philippines on Wednesday appealed directly to consumers in its main export market, Japan, to pay higher prices for imported bananas to help with soaring production costs.

The prices of fuel and agricultural supplies are pushing many farmers to the brink of bankruptcy, according to a report from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo which argued for Japanese consumers to share the burden of “sustainable bananas”.

“It would be unrealistic and unfair for Filipino banana growers to maintain the status quo,” Ambassador Jose C. Laurel V told reporters.

The growers negotiated with Japanese retailers and trading companies over pricing, but were told to bring their concerns to the public.

“We were impressed that one of the important things we need to do is explain to consumers why there needs to be a price increase,” said Robispierre L. Bolivar, second in command at the embassy. from the Philippines.

Consumer prices are rising in Japan after decades of deflation, accelerated by the fall of the yen to its lowest level in 20 years, soaring energy costs and logistical blockages caused by the crisis in Ukraine.

Food prices are particularly targeted, with everything from snack makers to breweries instituting their first price increases in many years.

Researcher Teikoku Databank reported last week that prices for more than 10,000 food items in Japan will rise in 2022.

Japan was the top destination for Philippine banana exports in 2020, narrowly surpassing shipments to China, according to United Nations trade data.

Japanese households spend an average of 4,387 yen ($32.92) on bananas a year, more than any other fruit, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Philippine banana prices have been stable for seven years, but a spike in production costs amid the Ukraine crisis has made current margins unsustainable, embassy officials said.

($1 = 133.2500 yen)

(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Jan Harvey)


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