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Exporters urged to tap African markets

06 January 2020

Published also in Business Mirror

Filipino manufacturers, particularly of personal-care products and beverages made from indigenous materials and goods, are encouraged to scout opportunities for business in African markets.

Agnes Legaspi, assistant director at the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), identified some products that will be strong in South Africa, or other African countries, including personal-care products using indigenous materials. “These are the raw materials like coconut, calamansi, rice, papaya, and even pili,” she said.

“We pride ourselves of being one of the leading exporters of coconut products. And we believe that we are actually one of the countries that have gained recognition in terms of the quality of our coconut products that we export.”

Legaspi said the country currently has different types of coconut products like coconut sugar, coconut water, coconut juice, in addition to desiccated coconut, medium-chain triglyceride oil, virgin coconut oil, coconut flour, and young coconut chips.

“And because we are an archipelagic country, we also produce a lot of marine products, actually, export a lot of these, as well as processed seafood…,” she said.

The trade official also cited beverages, wines, and spirits using indigenous products like calamansi and mango. “We have exporters [who] also have been gaining grounds producing quality natural wellness supplements that are good for all of us because we are espousing a healthy lifestyle. These are supplements that we think we can contribute to the well-being, hopefully of African consumers,” Legaspi said. She added many exporters have also obtained organic certification. “[These are] certified from different markets from all over the world and are in mainstream shelves—they are right beside the products that are being sold not only to the Filipino communities. We have organic products that are now in the US, UK and EU, and many other parts of the world,” she said.

Legaspi also underscored the need to tap the trillion-dollar halal market, noting that many of the African consumers are Muslims.

“That’s the reason why we currently have the halal export promotion. The law that has been enacted to promote certifications for all halal that would be compliant to the markets that we serve and, hopefully, would want not only to tap the food, the personal care but other sectors, as well, like logistics and services, [and] even financing,” she said.

“Other culture-based products that we are quite strong, we have certification also for these kosher products and they are also in mainstream markets,” she added.

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