Phl readies avocado exports to South Korea

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The Philippines will start exporting Hass avocados to South Korea this month to grab a bigger share of the increasing number of health-conscious consumers worldwide, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

"Hass avocados have become popular in Korea as the main nutritional ingredient in salads and sandwiches. They are available at leading retail stores and online markets, in fresh and frozen form, but are mostly from Latin American countries," a statement from the DA said.

Before the end of the month, the agriculture department said Dole Philippines will start shipping Hass avocados harvested from its farms in Davao, Bukidnon and South Cotabato for the fruit export season until 2024.

The Hass avocado is the most desired of the more than 500 varieties worldwide due to its higher healthy fat content, making it creamier. However, some consumers are turned off by its pebbly skin, unlike other smooth skin types, such as the Florida avocado.

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

The Philippines expressed its intent to export Hass avocados to South Korea in 2009, but this was delayed as the fruit must first undergo pest analysis tests.

The Korean Ministry of Agriculture and the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry green-lighted the fruit export by signing the Plant Quarantine Import Requirements of Fresh Hass Avocado last 19 June.

South Korea was the Philippines' fourth largest export market for food products in 2022, with a total value of $574.27 million. More than half, or 56 percent, of the food exports were fruits, while the rest included okra, as the Philippines is the sole exporter of this vegetable to South Korea.

Daily Tribune