WASHINGTON – The Philippines is seeking more access for its agricultural products to the United States (US) as American firms eye the establishment of biofuel facilities in the country.
Philippine agriculture attaché Josyline Javelosa said there is great interest in the US for Philippine products such as okra, calamansi and coffee. Discussions with US officials are ongoing to determine how these products can enter the US market, she said.
At the same time, Javelosa said the Philippines is expanding the export of bananas, mangoes, and fresh young coconut.
“We continue to engage the US Department of Agriculture on market access regulations for agricultural product exports from the Philippines,” she said. “Hopefully we could improve the exports of Philippine products to the US.”
Javelosa said renewable firm Green Bison Co., on the other hand, is looking at the production of biomass fuel pellets from banana leaves, sugar cane bagasse and other fibers, she said.
Another company, she added, is interested in establishing over 20 refineries to produce coco biodiesel.
Javelosa said the Philippines likewise asked the US to allow the entry of its pineapples in other ports as current shipments are limited to Guam, Northern Marianas Island and the North Atlantic region.
With the short shelf life of some of its fruit exports, like mangoes, Javelosa said the Philippines also asked the USDA to waive the pre-inspection requirement for its agricultural products.
Such move, she said, would significantly boost exports of the tropical fruit.
“We are trying to do away with the pre-waiver inspection for mangoes because it entails more costs making our mango less competitive especially compared from the mango coming from the nearby Mexico,” Javelosa said.
The US remains the top single country market for Philippine food and agricultural products reaching $1.1 billion last year. As of 2018, the Philippines is the 11th largest agricultural export market of the US. Among the Philippines’ top food and agricultural exports to the US include tropical oils which amounts to $535 million, processed fruits and vegetables $168 million, tree nuts $113 million, fruits and vegetable juices $75 million and raw beet and cane sugar $61 million. (GMA News)