• PH agri products gain traction in new export markets

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    AGRICULTURE products, particularly food and related items, stand to succeed in the new export markets the Philippines is now diversifying into.

    In particular, virgin coconut oil is in demand in South Africa, where coconut is not a native tree, its embassy in Manila said in a statement.

    “If someone sees you in a retail store with coconut oil, they classify you as someone from a high-end society. It is very expensive. So it has a good market in South Africa,” Deputy Head of Mission Tshire Kau said.

    Also, mango flour-based bakery products is gaining wide acceptance in South Africa. A Filipino exporter of has started exporting to a Johannesburg bakery, and found the reception to breads and pastries made with mango flour as highly encouraging.

    Trade and Industry Director Senen Perlada noted that gluten-free products are becoming popular overseas, not just in South Africa but also in the United States and in European countries. He encouraged Filipino manufacturers to come up with innovative products made with mango flour, coconut flour and banana flour for export.

    Even though high volumes of Philippine bananas are shipped to the Persian Gulf, the demand for the fruit as well as other agriculture products from the Philippines continues to exceed supply in Iran.

    Consumers want products not easily available in local stores but are widely produced or grown in the Philippines.

    “So many Iranian companies are still requesting for more bananas from the Philippines,” Iranian Ambassador to the Philippines Mohammad Tanhaei said.

    Other tropical fruits like mango —raw or processed into juices or concentrates—are also in demand in Iran, Tanhaei noted.

    Narayanan Ramakrishnan, charg e d’affaires at the Embassy of India in Manila, said that snacks and fast food are key products aspiring exporters can offer to breach the Indian market.

    India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, enabling its population to acquire large disposable incomes, a big portion of which is spent on food.

    Indians now like to experiment with what they eat and have developed a huge appetite for non-traditional Indian cuisine, Ramakrishnan noted. The best way for Filipino exporters is to hook up with local partners to tap and explore the South Asian market, he said.

    Under the Philippine Export Development Plan 2015-2017, the government’s key goal for 2017 is to diversify markets and products, according to the Export Development Council (EDC).

    EDC Deputy Executive Director Emmarita Mijares has said more outbound business missions are in the planning stages and specifically targeting these new markets.

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