Gov’t support sought for small banana farmers
Davao Fruits Banana Growers Agrarian Reform Cooperative, among other groups, are seeking government attention regarding the fight of small banana farmers in Mindanao to revoke their unfair contracts with multinational companies and calling on for support for rural development.
“In the Philippines, small banana farmers in Mindanao are being forced into a vicious cycle of poverty and debt due to unfair contracts and lack of government support for rural development. The fruits of the billion-dollar banana industry is not felt by the farmers who work their fingers to the bone,” a statement showed.
As of now, various cooperatives in Mindanao have existing contracts with large agricultural companies such as SUMIFRU Philippines, Lapanday Foods Corporation, Marsman Drysdale Group, all of which export bananas to countries like Japan, China, and regions like the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the farmers have no control over the low buying price of their produce.
“In times of climate-related disasters and calamities, the contracts have no provisions for insurance coverage. This was the case in 2012 when Typhoon Pablo (International name Bopha) hit and caused massive destruction of banana plantations in Mindanao,” the statement said.
“These unfair contracts are a debt sentence. Instead of emancipation, the agrarian reform beneficiaries are pushed back to being farm workers in the very land that they own,” it added.
Today, Rolando Torintera, president of the Davao Fruits Banana Growers Agrarian Reform Cooperative will talk about the plight and issues of their cooperative with SUMIFRU Philippines in a press briefing.
He will be joined by Atty. Melisa Jane Comafay, Legal Officer of IDEALS Inc., among others.