Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines has successfully penetrated three new international markets with local agricultural exports: avocado, cacao and coconut milk. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) attributes this milestone to the DTI-Foreign Trade Service Corp (DTI-FTSC) and DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) as well as the Department of Agriculture (DA).

A 7.7-ton shipment of Davao avocados arrived in Shanghai, China through fruit company Dole Philippines on Mar. 31. These will be first sold by Alibaba Group’s supermarket chain Hema Xiansheng. Meanwhile, Coco Daily’s organic coconut milk reached St. Petersburg, Russia during the first week of April. One-liter packages of Coco Daily, which arrived in 40-feet shipping containers, will be made available to the Russian market during the spring season from March to May. Lastly, Auro Chocolate brought 20,000 kg of Mindanao-sourced cacao beans to the ports of Antwerp, Belgium on Apr. 16. The shipment consists of five different cacao varieties, including the 2019 Cacao of Excellence winner, Paquibato Origin.

“Now is the time for Philippine agricultural products to thrive. COVID-19 may lead to market access issues and non-tariff measures. It may be more difficult to comply with stricter regulations, certifications, external and domestic regulations. The DTI-EMB commits to assist exporters, especially MSMEs, to comply with these requirements and introduce their products to the world,” says DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada

The DTI-EMB will continue working with the DA and DTI-FTSC to match the supply and demand of Philippine agricultural products, leading existing and aspiring exporters to level with international standards.

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