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Philippines gains Korean market access for fresh Hass avocado

Author: DA-AFID | 13 September 2023

The Philippines’ commercial shipment of Hass avocado to the Republic of Korea will start soon by the end of September 2023.

“We thank the Korean government for finally approving the market access of our Hass avocado exports,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban said as he announced that the country can now export Hass avocado to Korea for the 2023–2024 season.

The announcement was made following the official letter from the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs-Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (MAFRA-APQA) to the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). 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 on September 8, 2023.

“This market access milestone is made possible through the effort of the DA-BPI headed by Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban and the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul headed by Agriculture Attaché Aleli Maghirang, who closely collaborates with their counterparts in MAFRA-APQA,” Undersecretary Panganiban said.

The market access of Hass avocado to 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 (PRA). The PRA for Hass avocado resumed after the Philippines’ success in securing market access for okra exports to Korea in 2021.

The Philippine fresh Hass avocado exports will be initially sourced out from DA-BPI-accredited orchards and packing houses of Dole Philippines in Davao, Bukidnon, and South Cotabato.

Hass avocadoes have become popular in Korea as the main nutritional ingredients for salad and sandwiches. They are available at leading retail stores and online markets, in fresh and frozen form, but are mostly from Latin American countries.

To familiarize the Koreans with the said Philippine fruit, the DA, through the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul in close coordination with Dole Korea, will support promotional activities to increase awareness of consumers and boost exports.

As one of the largest food importers in the world, South Korea is a lucrative market for Philippine agricultural exports. In 2022, South Korea has been the 4th largest destination of Philippine agri-food exports with USD574.27 million total agri-fisheries exports value.

Despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines recorded a 9% increase in agri-fisheries exports to Korea in 2022, generating USD307.47 million trade surplus. The majority of the agri exports  are tropical fruits (56%) in terms of market share.

The Philippines supplies 75% of fresh bananas, 100% of fresh pineapples and papayas, 5% of fresh mangoes and is the sole exporter of fresh okra to Korea. The Philippines also exports high-value seafood products such as abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, blood cockle, eel, and fish.

“The increasing demand of Korean consumers for agricultural products with preferences for food with health and wellness benefits bodes well for Philippine agricultural exporters,” Maghirang said.

She added that this presents an opportunity for the DA to encourage the increased cultivation of “export winners” such as tropical fruits and high-value agricultural products to meet the growing demand of the discerning Korean market for healthy food.  (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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