SOUTH Korea will begin importing Hass avocado from the Philippines starting September 2023, the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced.
DA Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said the country can now export Hass avocado to Korea for the 2023-2024 season after the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Rural Affairs-Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (MAFRA-APQA) granted market access for the Philippines for the fruit.
“We thank the Korean government for finally approving the market access of our Hass avocado exports,” Panganiban said.
Both countries signed and agreed on June 19, 2023 the protocol on Plant Quarantine Import Requirements of fresh hass avocado fruits from the Philippines into the Republic of Korea and became effective on Sept. 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,” Panganiban said.
The Philippine government first requested in 2009 the market access of Hass avocado to Korea 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-Bureau of Plant Industry (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.
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 hass avocado from the Philippines, 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 was the 4th largest destination of Philippine agri-food exports with $574.27 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 a $307.47 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 and 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 to South Korea.
“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.