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This profile was last updated on 10/24/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Executive Director

PILIPINO BANANA GROWERS AND EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION
 
Background

Employment History

  • President
    PILIPINO BANANA GROWERS AND EXPORTERS ASSOCIATION
  • Executive Director
    Exporters Association
  • President
    Exporters Association
  • Executive Director
    Pilipino Banana Growers
  • President
    Pilipino Banana Growers
  • Executive Vice President
    AMSOR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Deputy Area Manager
  • President
    Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association
  • Executive Director
    Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association
  • President
    Philippine Banana Growers
  • Executive Director
    Philippine Banana Growers
  • Chairman
    Philippine Banana Growers
115 Total References
Web References
The traditional two-week payment delivery ...
www.abs-cbnnews.com, 24 Feb 2012 [cached]
The traditional two-week payment delivery from Iranian buyers has been stretched to more than four weeks starting from January, with Iran even offering oil as payment for shipments, said Stephen Antig, president of the Pilipino Banana Growers' and Exporters' Association (PBGEA).
"Some of the local banana producers are now rethinking if they should continue trades with Iran," Antig told Reuters in a telephone interview.
New financial sanctions by the US and the European Union make it difficult for Iran to pay for staple food and other imports, prompting the country of 74 million to resort to barter trade.
Another option for the domestic industry was to accept payment in currencies other than the Iranian rial, Antig said.
"We continue to ship to Iran and the volume has not really decreased significantly," he added.
The exporters' group from the Philippines, the world's third biggest banana exporter, shipped 560,000 tons of the fruit to the Middle East last year, sending half of that volume to Iran.
Antig said the figure did not include exports by small banana growers, who do not belong to the group, which represents 32 companies.
He said the industry group had discussed Iran's proposed oil-for-banana deal with Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, who advised it to seek other markets despite Iran being one of the three biggest buyers of Philippine bananas.
"I think the government should really look into that," said Antig, regarding the oil-for-bananas deal.
Stephen Antig, president of ...
www.malaya.com.ph, 23 Mar 2014 [cached]
Stephen Antig, president of the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association, said farmers with as small as half a hectare planted to bananas, are able to ship with other growers' produce, one or two containers a week. This is true for farmers who set up cooperatives. Small-scale farmers need the opportunity. Antig said the agrarian reform paved the way for the emergence of small-scale banana growers. Some employes of big plantations in Davao for example have turned themselves into small-scale banana growers. Antig said this practice of independent exportation is a welcome development as this an entirely different practice from those who resort to spot selling. He said there are more small growers shifting to China although he could not give figures. "Most small growers are exporting to China because it is easier and the volumes are smaller. There is a market for them, there are buyers who take their produce in smaller amounts because not all importers are institutional buyers," Antig said. This practice should not be misconstrued as a threat to contract growers because like in other crops, banana growing is threatened by weather conditions. In contract growing, there are times when the produce from farms are not enough to cover production cost such that small-scale farmers take out loans or advances from their principals and pay off the debt from the harvest. Spot buying remains a concern, Antig said, and cases of breach of contract had been filed against those who failed to deliver to their contract buyers. Antig declined to discuss these cases in detail. "Some cases prosper, some don't." Another positive offshoot of spot buying is that the doors for renegotiation of prices of bananas under contract have been opened. "The contract buyers are now in constant dialogue with the farmers and often, the growers are able to get better prices." He said exporting independently is not a threat to big companies as long the quality of the fruit is good. Unlike contract growers, there is little control over small growers. Antig said the control rests in the hands of the Bureau of Plant Inspection quarantine services which inspects the fruits before these are issued phytosanitary certification, a requirement in a recipient country. "This is very important because if the bananas exported by the independent exporter are of poor quality, this could affect the entire Philippine banana industry," Antig said. On spot buying, Antig said the industry is seeking the help of government to come up with measures to avoid this practice such as increasing the number of personnel monitoring the exports. Antig said the industry is also coordinating with local governments to help police the industry. Antig clarified that 5,000 boxes per hectare is attainable by very efficient plantations. On the average, the yield is 3,200 to 3,500 boxes. He also said the Department of Agriculture clarified that the Philippines is the second biggest exporter of bananas and not third. Antig said Japan has emerged the country's largest market because of proximity, making it easier to ship the fruit. Farms are not controlled by Japanese proponents because there are 100-percent Filipino firms that supply to Japan, he added. It was only in the late 1960s that Japan lifted its ban on importation of bananas. This gave the Philippines the opportunity to enter that market. "The Philippines became the biggest supplier of bananas to Japan because of its proximity. The Philippines is nearer to Japan than Ecuador is," Antig said. Japan is also a good market because it has a huge population which can afford to buy our bananas. "Aside from that, Japan already had the infrastructure to absorb our banana. They had ripening rooms and other facilities that are needed to accommodate importation of bananas," Antig said. He said supply of containers and packaging materials had become an option for buyers, depending on the contracts they enter into. "Companies especially big producers have their own boxes and plastic bags the cost of which they just deduct from the payment to the grower," Antig said In his meetings with the Departments of Agriculture and of the Trade and Industry, Antig said he related PBGEA's request for government to seek for the reduction if not elimination, of tariffs on bananas going to Japan and even Korea. Japan is of particular interest since this is the country's biggest market. Tariffs on bananas in Japan are still high and vary, 20 percent during winter when that country's winter fruits become available. Tariffs are lowered during summer to 10 percent. "That's the policy of Japan that is why we are asking government if it can help the industry negotiate for the reduction if total elimination of tariff," Antig said. Bilaterally, that can be negotiated under the Japan-Philippines economic partnership agreement. Antig said even buyers/importers from Japan are helping lobby with their government for the tariff cut and have petitioned their Ministry of Agriculture on the matter. Lower or no tariffs would further boost volumes to Japan but Antig said the move should be calculated to avoid flooding the market with bananas. A glut could drive the prices down which would not be good for the industry. Antig said PBGEA in a separate meeting with the DTI last week sought its help to help industry in identifying new markets, help exporters diversify and secure fallback markets "We have been requesting if they can conduct more missions," he said. Korea as a market for bananas is still small and there is so much potential to improve the volumes. The tariff in Korea, however, is high at 30 percent. "We can expore Kazahkstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Indonesia, other members of the Emirates," Antig said. He added that the country needs new investors, not just buyers. At this time, Antig said areas devastated by Typhoon Pablo two years ago need to replaced or growers would not be able to meet demand. Of the 14,000 hectares affected by the typhoon, more than half has been rehabilitated so far. Antig said the target is to rehabilitate all these lands by the end of the year and normalize the volume of production and export also this year. Smaller farms cannot rehabitate fast enough without taking out a loan. Insurance money, Antig said, is not enough because development cost in banana growing is big. "Depending on the location and land, the development cost for a hectare could go range from P400,000 per hectare to as high as P1 million. That is the initial investment," Antig said.
“We're quite lucky in that we ...
www.hortist.com, 18 Nov 2013 [cached]
“We're quite lucky in that we were not badly hit by the last typhoon,†said Stephen Antig, executive director of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association. The wrath of Typhoon Haiyan largely spared Mindanao's banana production. The region is known for its banana production, so Antig said it was good for the industry that the typhoon's effects weren't significant.
“Certain parts of Mindanao were hit, but fortunately, these areas were not major banana-producing areas,†said Antig. “There has been some damage, but it's been negligible.†He added that the banana industry has been resilient the past several years, even after last year's Typhoon Bopha caused more damage than this year's typhoon. While Typhoon Bopha affected 20 percent of Mindanao's banana production, Antig noted that exporters continued to ship their fruit without interruption throughout the ordeal. As for the country's other crops, however, Antig believes they may not have fared as well.
“Considering that the areas that were hit the hardest largely had rice and coconut, I would say those are the crops that have been most affected,†said Antig.
Recently, following the Scarborough Shoal ...
www.pinoywatchdog.com, 25 Nov 2012 [cached]
Recently, following the Scarborough Shoal standoff, China reportedly imposed tighter quarantine rules on a Philippine banana shipment, and that got Stephen Antig, President of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, on the edge. He said that China is the biggest buyer of Philippine Cavendish bananas.
Steve Antig, president of ...
www.malaya.com.ph, 17 Mar 2014 [cached]
Steve Antig, president of the Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Assocation (PBGEA) , said multinational companies, which control banana production in the country, have been complaining of an ongoing practice among local growers of selling to 'spot buyers' , especially from China of bananas otherwise grown for their brands. Foreign buyers approach local buyers and offer them on the spot prices higher than prevailing prices. "Growers who do this then fail to deliver the committed volumes to their contracted buyers. This is a breach of contract that unfortunately besmirches reputation of all other growers as reliable suppliers of bananas," said Antig. He added that there are also instances when unscrupulous growers ship to their spot buyers poor quality bananas. This also tarnishes the image of the entire Philippine banana industry, Antig said. Antig said this "spot buying" practice is very prevalent especially during periods when prices are good. "We are talking to local governments to help us arrest this practice because this is destroying the banana industry," said Antig.
...
Antig is hopeful that this year, production would improve especially for those hit by typhoon Pablo. In better times, the country was producing 200 million boxes of bananas per year. He said competitor countries are closing in on the markets where the Philippines exports to in times of excess supply at lower prices which unnecessarily pull down prices of Phillippine bananas. For example, current leading producer Ecuador exports its excess volume to Japan, Korea and China. Countries in Latin America are able to sell at lower prices because they are heavily subsidized. While local banana contract growers are supported by MNCs which clearly have bigger capital, these MNCs also fall on hard times. Wages in the Philippines are mandated but banana growers pay premium, as high as P500 per day in carrying cost when the minimum wage in the region is only P296. "The banana industry is the highest paying among industries in Mindanao," Antig said. The industry is also among those sectors unionized so workers are able to demand in terms of benefits and wages. Antig estimates that there are 1 to 2 million Filipinos dependent on the banana industry. According to Antig, the industry had tried to penetrate the European and the US markets. In 2013, Antig said PBGEA started marketing to Europe but obviously, the Philippines is not competitive on freight costs, which automatically jacks up cost of production. Antig said the Philippines has also sent trial shipments this year to the US which has so far received good reception, indicating acceptance of its quality. He said the focus now is to export to the continental US or the territories like Hawaii, Northern Marianas and Guam which are relatively easier to export to rather than the mainland. "But we are not giving up on the US market yet," Antig said, admitting that it is hard to compete with Latin America due to its proximity. Freight costs could go as high as $8,000 per container as opposed to $3,000 to $4,000 to those coming from Latin America. "US consumers would not shift to Philippine bananas that fast," Antig said. He added that exporters could try to negotiate with shipping companies if they can lower their freight costs to be competitive. "So it is important for us to penetrate new markets. Definitely if we can enter the territories and US bases, those are a big market for us." According to Antig, PBGEA does not see it could penetrate Australia because one province, Queensland produces the fruit. He added that the Philippines need other markets to fill those where the country has current problems like China and Iran. Ecuador is the world's biggest exporter of bananas followed by Honduras. For a time the Philipines was the second top producer but lost out as the country cannot compete with the subsidized products of Latin America. Subsidies even include reimbursement of shipping fees Antig said the PBGEA is seeking government's help in research and development to help them come out with better means to fight off diseases linked to bananas in order to sustain production at quality demanded by buyers. Antig said the Philippines remains optimistic about its exports despite setbacks faced in China and Iraq because "we have other new markets.
Other than the US territories, the Philippines is eyeing Russia, Mongolia and even Indonesia. The Philippines, he said, has a long history of exporting bananas. "We have been doing this for 44 years.
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