EXPORTERS of food and other agri-based products need to comply with their export market requirements if they want to seize more business opportunities brought about by globalization and rising demand.
Leandro Gazmin, Department of A griculture (DA) assistant secretary for agribusiness, said on Friday it is critical that businesses meet these requirements such as product quality and quantity, food safety, certifications and accreditation, and packaging and labeling.
Gazmin cited as an example buyer requirements of the European Union (EU) that include legislative requirements in the countries of source and destination, phytosanitary certificates, and EU import checks.
“As far as dried exotic fruits are concerned, there are presently no specific EU quality standards,” he said. “Codex quality standards for dried mangoes are considered to be a world standard.”
On consumer packaging for dried fruit, Gazmin identified information on the label that is mandatory. These include ingredients and the quantity of each, net quantity of dried mango (in gram), nutritional value per 100 gram, best before date, bar code, special storage conditions, name of the packer or importer, and country of origin.
“A promotional message or catchy phrase on the cover may be added, but be careful with strong health claims; such claims should meet certain requirements,” he said.
The agriculture official noted that improved packaging and labeling, especially in light of growing food safety concerns, is among the challenges exporters face in penetrating the export market.
Gazmin also underscored the importance of adhering to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) specifications to “improve market prospects.”
He said there is also a need to increase production of quality and competitive products to sustain existing markets and explore new ones.