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PH seeking new export markets for sugar, bananas

By: Riza T. Olchondra, April 23rd, 2013 07:44 AM

Cavendish bananas from Mindanao. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is seeking new markets for sugar and bananas to boost agro-based exports, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

“In addition to South Korea and India, Indonesia and the Middle East were also identified as potential markets for Philippine sugar,” Neda Deputy Director General Emmanuel F. Esguerra said in a statement.

Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) and the Sugar Regulatory Administration identified the new markets. PITC is coordinating with the buyers in these countries on their specific requirements, the Neda said.

The United States, Russia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and India are among the major importers of raw cane sugar, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics.

On banana exports, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry is targeting an initial shipment of 3,000 metric tons to the United States this month, Neda said. The United States is one of the world’s top 20 importers of bananas, according to FAO data.

“This is also in line with the US Department of Agriculture’s announcement that allows Philippine highland cavendish bananas to be shipped to the US,” said Esguerra.

Recently, the National Statistics Office reported that exports of centrifugal and refined sugar and bananas grew by 27,094.6 percent and 95.5 percent year on year in February 2013, respectively. This resulted in a 43.7-percent rise in the country’s agro-based exports to $343.9 million in February 2013.

Esguerra said the Philippines must speed up the implementation of necessary programs and policies to improve the competitiveness of the country’s exports. Doing so will enable the country to take advantage of increasing regional and global integration, Neda said.

“No doubt the exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso. This can be offset 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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