Philippines at a glance

Map of the Philippines

Flag of the Philippines

100.7 million

Gross Domestic Product[1]

292 billion US$


10.3% of Gross Domestic Product

Total land area[2]

29.8 million hectares

Cultivated land[2]

12.1 million hectares

Cultivated banana area[3]

443,270 hectares

Banana production [4]
9.1 million metric tonnes

The Philippines is the second largest exporter of bananas after Ecuador, with some 2.6 m tonnes exported in 2012[5]. 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[4] on 443,270 ha[3], 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[6].

Banana-producing areas

Regions and provinces of the Philippines
Regions and provinces of the Philippines

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[7].

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[7].

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[7].

Production systems

Production and export of Cavendish cultivars (2005 is the year TR4 was confirmed). (Source: FAOSTAT and CountrySTAT)
Production and export of Cavendish cultivars (2005 is the year TR4 was confirmed). (Source: FAOSTAT and CountrySTAT)

In 2015, more than 4.5m tonnes[4] of Cavendish cultivars were produced on some 85,000 ha[3]. 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.

Production constraints

The tropical race 4 strain that causes Fusarium wilt in Cavendish cultivars, was confirmed in 2005[8]. The isolates had been collected from banana farms in the Davao Region, which occupies the southeastern portion of Mindanao[9]. TR4  impacts both large commercial growers and smallholder farmers growing Cavendish for the export market[10].

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[11]. 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[12].


1. 2015 data from the World Bank
3. 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, CountrySTAT: Area planted by crop
4. 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, CountrySTAT: Volume of production by crop
5. The banana market in Asia. Page 71 in the April 2013 issue (No. 210) of FruiTrop.
6. Valmayor, R.V., Espino, R.R.C. and Pascua, O.C. 2002. The Wild and Cultivated Bananas of the Philippines. PARRFI, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. 242p.
7. 2012 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, CountrySTAT: Volume of production by crop, region and province
8. Molina, A., Fabregar, E., Sinohin, V.G., Herradura, L., Fourie, G. and Viljoen, A. 2008. Confirmation of tropical race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, infecting Cavendish bananas in the Philippines. Abstract of presentation to the 2008 Centennial Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society.
9. Molina, A.B., Fabregar, E., Sinohin, V.G., Yi, G. and Viljoen, A. 2009. Recent occurrence of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4 in Asia. p.109-116. In: Jones, D.R. and Van den Bergh, I. (eds.). Proceedings of International ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Recent Advances in Banana Crop Protection for Sustainable Production and Improved Livelihoods, White River, South Africa, 2007/09/10-14. Acta Horticulturae 828. ISHS, Leuven, Belgium.
10. Videos on the experience of banana farmers in the Philippines, part 1 and part 2.
11. Itochu to overhaul Asian banana farming for bigger yields in the 21 October 2016 edition of the Nikkei Asia Review.

See also on this website

Musapedia pages on banana-producing countries: