Philippine food exports rose by 21 percent to $2.57 billion in 2011, from $2.12 billion the previous year, due largely to increased sales to key markets of fruits and vegetables, processed food and beverages, and marine products.
But even with these gains, Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex) president Roberto C. Amores noted in a statement that “much can still be done to enhance our export performance.”
“The Philippine food export turnover is far behind our Asean neighbors. For example, Thailand’s food exports reached $24.38 billion in 2010 and increased to $27.65 billion in 2011 despite the protracted financial crisis in the US and Europe and the recent great flood in Thailand,” Amores explained.
For the Philippines to catch up, there must be “increased investments in the agro-food sector focusing on the development of export competitive products and supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” Amores said.
Amores noted that the P80-million funding support for export promotions and other development activities would help boost the local export industry.
Of the amount disbursed last year, P20 million was allotted for export promotion, while the remaining P60 million was used to put up common service facilities for the SMEs.
“We look forward to benefiting from the Department of Trade and Industry’s common service facilities, which were a result of the P60-million government export development fund. Expectations are also high for the institutionalization of export competitiveness fund under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) as approved by President Aquino last year,” said Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport).
According to Ortiz-Luis, strong emerging markets like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are seen to provide huge business opportunities for the Philippine food exporters.
As stated by a sector brief of the World Bank on agriculture and rural development, more than half of the food consumed in the MENA region is imported, making it the largest food-importing region in the world. The estimated size of global halal food sector for 2011 is $661 billion, according to the World Halal Forum.
(Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc. (Philfoodex)