Ships to ferry food commodities needed
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that for countries like the Philippines which has thousands of islands, more ships that can ferry food commodities are badly needed.
“The availability of cargo vessels to ferry food commodities from the islands to the urban centers like Cebu and Metro Manila is so scarce that it is more expensive to ship bananas from Mindanao to Manila than from Davao to Japan,” Piñol said.
According to him, fruit producers from Mindanao have to rely on forwarding companies to bring their products to Cebu or Metro Manila, adding up to the cost and effectively jacking up the price of commodities.
Piñol then cited the case of banana farmers from Mindanao who have to “literally beg for space in the cargo vessels to ship their bananas to Metro Manila”.
As a result, a delay of two or three days would already cause massive losses to them.
“Another example is the long route taken by fish trucks from Zamboanga City to Cebu City via Zamboanga del Norte and Dumaguete City,” the Department of Agriculture chief further said.