Philippines: Department of Agriculture opens more export markets

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is opening more export markets and investment opportunities for local high value crops to carve a position in the global market.

The country is negotiating to export more high value crops after “determined strides” last year that opened opportunities for cash crops, DA Undersecretary for policy, planning, and regulations Mercedita Sombilla said during the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines luncheon meeting last week.

“We have begun exports of frozen durian to China, pili nuts to 27 European countries, shallots to Indonesia, fresh dragon fruit to Australia, young coconut to Taiwan and corn seeds to Colombia,” she said.

For this year, the DA is working on exporting more cash crops to new areas.

“We have commenced negotiations for the exports of papaya, papaya seeds to India, even as we have been allowed exports of these to Ecuador. We’re likewise working to open more ports of entry of fresh pineapple to US. The import plan quarantine requirement for fresh Hass avocado to Republic of Korea is now being finalized,” Sombilla said.

Last June 19, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) said it facilitated the export of 225.8 kilograms of fresh mango fruits from Guimaras to Switzerland.

The shipment was done in collaboration with G5 International Corp. while the mango fruits were supplied by Guimaras Wonders Farm.

The BPI said the mangoes underwent meticulous inspections after being issued the necessary phytosanitary certificate, ensuring compliance with international standards.

The mangoes were also tested to determine if the fruits are above or below maximum residue limit. The agency said this is a crucial step to ensure safety and quality of the produce being exported.

Meanwhile, Sombilla said the DA is also offering “more promising” investment opportunities in coconut, mango, cavendish banana production and processing.

“We need investments in research, infrastructure, post-harvest facilities and production technologies for all these export products to further improve the Filipino farm sector’s foreign exchange potential,” she said.

“There are excellent capital investment opportunities in cold storages and processing facilities for other fresh and value-added farm products throughout these islands,” the DA official said.

President Marcos had earlier directed the DA to come up with strategies congruent to strategizing, clustering, and optimizing toward becoming more export-oriented and being quality competitive.

DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and BPI director Gerald Glenn Panganiban had said that while not all Philippine crops are currently positioned for export, there are definitely bright spots for the sector.

He also recognized the support of the stakeholders, including the producers and exporters, as DA partners in elevating the export potential of local agri-fishery commodities through the years.