292 billion US$
10.3% of Gross Domestic Product
29.8 million hectares
12.1 million hectares
The Philippines is the second largest exporter of bananas after Ecuador, with some 2.6 m tonnes exported in 2012. That year, the exports from the Philippines (essentially Cavendish cultivars) made up 98% of the Asian banana trade. Two thirds of the exported volumes were shipped to Japan, China and South Korea.
In 2015, the country produced nearly 9.1m tonnes of bananas on 443,270 ha, with Cavendish cultivars accounting for about 50% of national banana production, Saba (29%) and Lakatan (11%). Latundan (a Silk cultivar) and other cultivars accounted for about 11%. At the beginning of the century, as many as 90 cultivars were estimated to be grown for local consumption.
In 2012, more than 80% of the bananas (and 99% of the Cavendish cultivars) were produced on the island of Mindanao, with Davao, Northern Mindanao and Soccskargen as the top regions and Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Bukidnon as the top three provinces.
The main Saba-producing regions are Davao, Soccskargen and Northern Mindanao on the island of Mindanao, with Davao del Sur, North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte as the top three provinces.
The main Lacatan-producing regions are Soccskargen, Davao and Northern Mindanao on the island of Mindanao, with North Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Lanao del Norte as the top three provinces.
In 2015, more than 4.5m tonnes of Cavendish cultivars were produced on some 85,000 ha. Cavendish cultivars are grown in small to large commercial plantations for the domestic and export markets. Export bananas are produced by Filipino-owned firms and multinational corporations. The small- and medium-scale farmers producing bananas for export either sell to multinationals or directly to traders. A small portion of the country's exports are organic bananas.
Smallholder farmers commonly grow bananas primarily for home consumption in backyard gardens. They grow a diversity of dessert and cooking cultivars depending on their preferences and the ease with which they can be produced.
In small plantations, bananas are grown as monocrops in areas ranging from 2 to 20 hectares. The cultivars are selected based on local consumer preferences, the prevailing agroclimatic conditions and the types of pests and diseases present.
The tropical race 4 strain that causes Fusarium wilt in Cavendish cultivars, was confirmed in 2005. The isolates had been collected from banana farms in the Davao Region, which occupies the southeastern portion of Mindanao. TR4 impacts both large commercial growers and smallholder farmers growing Cavendish for the export market.
The extent of the damage in the large Cavendish plantations for export has not been documented, but evidence suggests that the disease has taken a toll. In 2016, the Japanese company Itochu announced that it plans to invest US$57.7 million) in its Philippines subsidiary, Dole International Holdings, to increase productivity. The subsidiary reported a 30% decline in production, to about 540,000 tonnes, between 2012 and 2015. The goal is to raise production to about 850,000 tonnes through irrigation, the planting of more resistant material (most likely GCTCVs) and relocation of farms "to sites with better soil", by which it probably means TR4-free soils.
The Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association, which represents small-scale farmers growing Cavendish cultivars for the export market, has reported that about 5,900 hectares of their members’ aggregate plantation area had been infected, including 3,000 hectares that have been abandoned.