The Philippines has suspended the export of bananas to the United States as typhoon Bopha (local name: Pablo) damaged several plantations in key banana growing areas in Mindanao.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said Thursday it will be "more practical" to temporarily shelve plans to ship bananas to the U.S. which has earlier given its go signal to allow the Philippines to ship 3,000 tons of Cavendish bananas.
This would have been the first time that the Philippines, one of the world's biggest banana exporters, will enter the U.S. market.
"I think our shipment of bananas to the U.S. will be delayed. (The private sector) would have to prioritize their earlier commitments (to other customers)," Alcala said in an interview with reporters.
Bopha, which rammed through southern Philippines last week, destroyed thousands of crops including 154,446 metric tons of bananas valued at 7.43 billion pesos ($181.31 million).
Alcala said the government would help banana growers rehabilitate their plantations so that the Philippines will not lose its share in the export market.
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