Philippines must open up new markets for produce exports

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Philippines

Philippines must open up new markets for produce exports
The growth of agro-based exports may be sustained with the opening up of new markets for sugar and bananas, according to the Philippines National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). 

In addition to South Korea and India, Indonesia and the Middle East were also identified as potential market for sugar​,” said Neda’s deputy director-general, Emmanuel F. Esguerra. 

Neda said the Philippine International Trading Corporation and the Sugar Regulatory Administration identified these markets, with the PITC coordinating with buyers across the countries. 

The United States, Russia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India are among the major importers of cane sugar, according to statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation statistics. 

Bananas finally to be shipped

Meanwhile, for banana exports, the Bureau of Plant Industry said an initial shipment of 3,000 tonnes to the US is slated for this month—it had earlier been cancelled in December on account of Typhoon Pablo. 

This is also in line with US Department of Agriculture’s announcement that allows Philippine highland Cavendish bananas to be shipped to their country​,” said Esguerra. This is no small event as it will mark the first time the Philippines, one of the world's biggest banana exporters, enters the US market.

Recently, the National Statistics Office reported that exports of centrifugal and refined sugar and bananas grew by over 27,000% and 95.5% year-on-year in February 2013, respectively. This made total agro-based exports rise by 43.7%, amounting to US$343.9m in February 2013. 

Rush through policies

Esguerra stressed that to be able to take advantage of increasing regional and global integration, there is a need to expedite the implementation of necessary programmes and policies to improve the competitiveness of Philippine exports. 

No doubt the exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso, but this can be overcome by the positive impact resulting from better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs, and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business​,” said Esguerra. 

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