Philippines to call for banana price rise in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bananas on sale at a shop in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The Philippine government plans to seek the understanding of a Japanese retail association regarding a rise in the price of Philippine-grown bananas, according to sources.

Banana retail prices have remained virtually unchanged over the past 20 years. But global inflation has increased the cost of production and transportation, putting pressure on growers in the Philippines.

The Philippine government will submit a written request as early as Wednesday to the Japan Retailers Association, which comprises supermarkets and commercial facilities.

The recent rise in energy costs has led to an increase in fertilizer prices, and fuel and shipping costs, impacting the profitability of Philippine banana producers.

Japan imported about 1.1 million tons of bananas in 2021, the highest amount among fruit imports, according to Finance Ministry data. Nearly 80% of banana imports came from the Philippines.

Bananas were once considered a luxury item. The inexpensive, highly nutritious and popular fruit is now a firm fixture at the entrances of many supermarkets.

For more than 20 years, the retail price per kilogram has hovered at about ¥200 to ¥250 in central Tokyo. By contrast, the prices of mikan and apples, which are mostly produced domestically, have gone up.