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Government eyes more markets for PHL farm products

THE government is banking on the possible increase in farm and food shipments to hit its export-growth target of 15 percent this year.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said prospects for higher farm and food exports are good. For one, the Philippines is gearing up for the initial shipment of 3,000 metric tons (MT) of cavendish bananas to the United States before April ends.

Records from the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) tag the US as one of the top 20 importers of the fruit.

The Philippines decided to put on hold the first shipment of bananas to the US after Typhoon Pablo (international code name Bopha) ravaged banana-growing areas in northern Mindanao in early December.

The government is also looking at opening up more markets for local sugar this year to prop up export receipts.

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

The Philippine International Trading Corp. is now coordinating with buyers in these countries on their specific requirements.

Citing figures from the FAO, Esguerra said the US, Russia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and India are among the major importers of raw (cane) sugar.

Latest figures from the National Statistics Office showed that receipts from agro-based shipments rose 43.7 percent on year to $343.9 million in February.

To be able to take advantage of increasing regional and global integration, Esguerra said there is a need to fast-track the implementation of necessary programs and policies to improve the competitiveness of Philippine exports.

“No doubt the exporters have been affected negatively by the strong peso, but this can be overcome by the positive impact resulting from better infrastructure, efficient logistics, lower power costs and other measures to reduce the cost of doing business,” he said.

With InterAksyon.com





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