Marcos secures $2-B fruit export deal with China

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday increased fruit export opportunities for the Philippines by securing a USD2 billion deal with China to step up imports of high-value Philippine agricultural products.

Marcos highlighted the country’s agriculture sector’s vast economic potential, which is seen “at the forefront” of the post-pandemic economic recovery strategy.

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and China General Administration of Customs signed an agreement for the protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of fresh durians from the Philippines to China.

The new deal secured by the Marcos administration also covers coconut and bananas, among others.

“As the protocol for the export of fresh Philippine durian was signed yesterday, the market for this fruit is now open to Philippine exporters and Chinese importers,” Marcos said in his remarks at a roundtable discussion with chief executive officers (CEOs) from the agriculture sector in Beijing.

At least four companies had expressed their intention to buy more Philippine tropical fruit products, especially durian, he said.

Among the top drivers for Philippine agricultural exports to China are fresh fruits, dominated by Cavendish bananas, followed by fresh pineapples, Lady Finger bananas, Solo papayas, Hass avocados and young green coconuts.

Marcos assured business leaders that durian growers, represented in the meeting by the Davao Durian Industry Association, are prepared to meet the “demands of the Chinese market.”

The Davao region covers 78 percent of the total durian production in the country.

In 2021, total durian imports from Thailand amounted to USD4 billion, more than triple the total Philippine agricultural exports to China in the same period.

President Marcos also welcomed the intention of several Chinese companies to invest in coconut, the livestock sector and develop durian as a plantation crop.

“These will generate much-needed employment, enrich the sector’s research and development activities and capabilities, enhance domestic and international trade, and ensure food security at affordable prices,” he said.

The Philippines’ Coconut Farmers Industry Development Plan, Marcos said, is expected to facilitate the rehabilitation and modernization of the Philippine coconut industry.

It aims to provide the catalyst needed to enable more coconut products from the Philippines to enter the Chinese market.

In the same meeting, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual touted the Philippines as a “highly promising production base for agribusiness, a source also of products for export to China.”

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