The Philippines can now export Hass avocados to South Korea for the 2023-2024 season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Wednesday.
Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the South Korean government had approved market access for the country’s avocado exports, with commercial shipments expected to start later this month.
Panganiban made the announcement following the receipt of a letter from the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs-Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency.
“We thank the Korean government for finally approving the market access of our Hass avocado exports,” he said.
The avocado exports are expected to be sourced from DA-BPI-accredited orchards and packing houses of Dole Philippines in Davao, Bukidnon and South Cotabato.
“Hass avocados have become popular in Korea as the main nutritional ingredients for salad and sandwiches,” the DA said.
The protocol on “Plant Quarantine Import Requirements of Fresh ‘Hass’ Avocado fruits from the Philippines into the Republic of Korea” was signed and agreed by both countries on June 19, 2023 and became effective last September 8.
The DA said that market access of Hass avocado to South Korea was first requested by the Philippine government in 2009 but was put on hold due to the one-at-a-time policy for pest risk analysis. The request resumed after the Philippines secured market access for okra exports to South Korea in 2021.
The Agriculture department said that South Korea is a lucrative market for Philippine agricultural exports as it is one of the largest food-importing countries.
In 2022, South Korea was the fourth-largest destination of Philippine agri-food exports worth $574.27 million.
The Philippines also recorded a 9-percent increase in agri-fisheries exports to South Korea in the same year despite challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country generated about $307.47 million in trade surplus with tropical fruits making up the majority, or 56 percent, of the agricultural exports.
“The increasing demand of Korean consumers for agricultural products with preferences for food with health and wellness benefits bodes well for Philippine agricultural exporters,” said Aleli Maghirang, head of the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul.
The Philippines supplies 75 percent of fresh bananas; 100 percent of fresh pineapples and papayas; 5 percent of fresh mangoes; and is the sole exporter of fresh okra to South Korea.
The country also exports high-value seafood products such as abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, blood cockle, eel and fish to South Korea.
Maghirang said that this presents an opportunity for the DA to encourage the higher production of tropical fruits and high-value agricultural products to meet the growing demand of the South Korean market for healthy food choices.
Source : Manila Times