PH sets export of avocados to South Korea

The Philippines is set to start exporting avocados to South Korea following the completion of the necessary process required by Seoul.

According to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, the commercial shipment of hass avocados—a large-sized variety of avocado—is expected before the end of the month.

The imported fruit will be sourced from orchards and packing houses of DOLE Philippines in Davao, Bukidnon and South Cotabato, which are accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), according to the embassy.

Hass avocados are popular among Koreans as main nutritional ingredients for their salad and sandwiches, but most of them are coming from Latin America.

Koreans have yet to be familiarized with Philippine hass avocados, the embassy said.

The Philippine government said it first requested South Korea market access for its avocados in 2019.

However, due to one-at-a time policy of the country, for Pest Risk Analysis (PRA), the market access was put on hold at stage 4 and only resumed after the Philippine okra exports was approved in 2021.

"We thank the Korean government for finally approving the market access of our hass  avocado exports," DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said.

"This market access milestone is made possible through the effort of the DA (Department of Agriculture) Bureau of Plant Industry headed by Dir. Gerald Glenn Panganiban and the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul headed by Agriculture Attache Aleli Maghirang who closely collaborates with their counterparts in MAFRA-APQA (Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs-Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency)," he added.

South Korea is a lucrative market for Philippine agricultural exports as it is one of the largest food importers in the world, the embassy said.

In 2022, it is the 4th largest destination of Philippine agri-food exports with 574.27 million USD total agri-fisheries exports value.

And despite challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Philippines recorded a nine percent increase in agri-fisheries exports to Korea in 2022, generating 307.47 USD million trade surplus, in favor of the Philippines.

The embassy also said that majority or 56 percent of Philippines agricultural exports to Korea are tropical fruits. In terms of market share, the Philippines supplies 75 percent of fresh bananas, 100 percent of fresh pineapples and papayas and five percent of fresh mangoes in Korea.

The Philippines is also the sole exporter of fresh okra to Korea, on top  high-value seafood products, such as abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, blood cockle, eel and fishes, that it is exporting.