‘Govt help needed to boost mango exports’

The government should help local mango producers ramp up their production and go into value adding if it is keen on increasing their share in export receipts, according to the Philippine Mango Exporters Foundation Inc. (PMEFI).

PMEFI President Roberto C. Amores said local mango producers remain uncompetitive as they continue to grapple with high production and freight costs.

“We cannot compete with other [Asian] countries due to air freight cost and transit time. And if ever we can export [to Sweden], this will not be something significant,” Amores told the  BusinessMirror.

The PMEFI chief issued the statement in reaction to the recent pronouncement of the Department of Agriculture (DA) that it is exploring the possibility of shipping fresh mangoes to Sweden.

He said if the government is keen on exporting to European countries, then it should focus on shipping value-added products rather than fresh mangoes.

“We should focus on processed mango products as local production is not even enough to supply the requirements of Asian markets like Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China,” said Amores, who is also president of the Philippine Food Exporters Confederation  Inc.

He urged the government to focus on helping farmers increase production and resolve technical matters, such as sanitary and phytosanitary issues, affecting exporters.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he met with Sweden’s Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries recently. The envoy said his country is interested in importing Philippine mangoes.

“It is an exciting prospect to transport our mangoes, particularly those grown in Guimaras, to Sweden,” Piñol said in a statement.

Data obtained by the BusinessMirror from the Philippine Statistics Authority  showed that the last time the Philippines exported fresh mangoes to Sweden was in 2010. Sweden bought 348 kilograms of fresh mangoes valued at $1,539.

Pineapple is the top Philippine fruit export to Sweden. It also imports desiccated coconut, butterflies, tuna, biscuits, banana chips, coconut milk and coconut water from the Philippines.

In 2016 the Philippines shipped 13,928.714 metric tons (MT) of fresh mangoes worth $12.57 million. Europe accounted for only 0.13 percent, or 6.68 MT, of mangoes exported by the Philippines. Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were the top buyers of Philippine fresh mangoes.

The Philippines also exports dried mango and mango purée products to Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Finland, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

Europe accounted for 6.87 percent of the total dried mango exports of the Philippines last year. Local producers shipped 363.28 MT of dried mangoes, valued at $3.731 million, to European countries in 2016.

The region also bought 212.559 MT of mango purée from the Philippines last year.