During lean month seasons when export demand for Cavendish banana is minimal, farmers are confronted with low export earnings thereby affecting their regular source of income. One of the strategies employed by the banana cluster team composed of small banana industry players was to explore the domestic market, particularly the Visayas area. Penetrating the local market was seen as an opportunity to benefit the locals of nutritional fruit such as premium quality Cavendish banana and at the same time generating more sales and income for local banana players in the region.
Under the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP), the cluster embarked on a project that formally promoted Cavendish banana in the domestic market by way of market promotion and facilitation initiatives which they conducted initially in Cebu City, a tourist-haven destination with dense population of locals and tourists willing to buy good quality cavendish bananas at a price competitive with other varieties.
Pursuant to the advocacy of supplying nutritious foods to Filipinos, the possible business opportunities from order taking and sustainable supply with consolidators and suppliers from the area.
The cluster team members went on a two-day market promotion and facilitation activity in the Queen City of the South (Cebu City) where series of activities were done to ensure attainment of its objectives. These activities included a TV guesting and interview at a local media station, GMA, “Buena Mano” program where Mr. Ireneo Dalayon, the Chairperson of the Banana Industry Cluster and also the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Cooperatives (FEDCO), together with Mr. Claudio Donal, Marketing Consultant of FEDCO and Engr. Vedastito Galvez, Chief, Trade and Industry Specialist of the Department of Trade and Industry, Region XI. Other activities included a courtesy call to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office and the Office of the Provincial Governor of Cebu.
The respective officers expressed their great appreciation for the effort made by the group in introducing the product to the area. They also assure the group of their continuous support on the supply of Cavendish banana in support to their various projects. Regional Director Mercedita Habagat and Provincial Governor Hon. Hilario Davide, III graced the group with their personal presence during the courtesy call events.
To cap the two-day event, the formal product launching of Cavendish banana to the local market was held at the prestigious Marriot Hotel. The event was attended by hotel and resort owners’ representations, company purchasing managers, business owners, school officials and government representatives.
To add excitement to the event, various recipes using Cavendish banana as the main ingredient were also prepared by Marriot Hotel’s Master Chef from Bangkok, among them Banana crepe, Banana in Coconut milk, Banana Bread, Muffins and Cake alongside with preparations like Banana Smoothie, Banana with Peanut Butter Sandwich, Banana Crepe with Choco syrup, etc..
As a result of the said activity, the awareness of the product was heightened and expectedly, orders for the supply of banana in the local market will start pouring in. With the success experienced by the Banana cluster, more of the same activity will soon be undertaken in other parts of the country.