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Japan calls on PH to improve fruit-growing practices

The Japanese government is willing to amp up its mango imports from the Philippines on one condition, that is Philippine fruit growers should cut their use of chemicals.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the prevalent use of chemicals and spraying had significantly hit the country’s mango exports to Japan, noting that the volume dropped by 95 percent because of Japan’s strict food standards.

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“We used to supply 7,000 metric tons [to Japan], it’s now down to almost 300 MT,” Piñol said in an interview with reporters. “Our farmers’ planting practices use a lot of chemicals, so we’re trying to address that.”

The Philippine government is currently in talks with its Japanese counterpart on the opening of the Japan market to more agricultural products, particularly mangoes, from the Philippines.

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Japan imports 12,000 MT of mangoes from all over the world, 2.5 percent of which come from the Philippines.

In previous years, the country supplies more than half of Japan’s mango requirements.

“Japan is willing to increase their imports so long as we’ll meet their standards,” Piñol said, who just came back from Japan for a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Japan Minister for Agriculture Takamori Yoshikawa.

“We will be conducting workshops to teach farmers practices that adhere to Japanese standards so we can regain our market share,” he added.

Diamond Star Corp., a fruits importer in Japan, recently struck a deal with Luzon mango growers for an additional 100 MT of mangoes, noting that Philippine mangoes are the best when it comes to taste.

The deal comes just when the local mango industry is experiencing an oversupply, with two million kilos of mangoes left with no market to cater to.

Another problem that hinders the local industry from dominating the Japan market is the price issue. Mangoes from Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam are cheaper since their produce is tariff-free.

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TAGS: Business, Japan, Japanese government
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