A market study conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) found that coconut, calamansi, carrageenan and moringa have high exports potentials in European markets.
While other Philippine agricultural products that were cited included ube, turmeric, butterfly pea flower and the elemi tree.
According to the DTI, the demand is driven by healthy lifestyle choices and using natural ingredients in manufacturing cosmetics and medicines.
“We invite all Philippine producers of the mentioned natural ingredients to take the leap and start exporting. If you have apprehensions, the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) will help you become export-ready and connect you with foreign buyers,” DTI undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said.
The study entitled “Market Intelligence EFTA for the Philippines” was conducted by the Swiss Import Promotion Program (SIPPO), in partnership with the DTI-EMB and the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines.
The three-part study looked into the viability of Philippine textiles, natural ingredients and processed food intended for the European market, especially to European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
According to Macatoman, the Philippines and ETFA have already signed a free trade agreement that has been in full force since 2020.
Based on the study, demand for virgin coconut oil (VCO) in Europe has grown in recent years due to the increasing popularity of healthy diets, vegan lifestyles, and awareness on the harm palm oil production does to the environment.
In can be noted that the Philippines is the world’s main producer of VCO and the second-largest producer of coconut products after Indonesia.
Desiccated coconut also has a high European market since it is used as a baking ingredient, and the European Union is the world’s largest importer of desiccated coconut, accounting to more than 30 percent of global imports. Leading importing countries are The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Belgium.
Macatoman said the Philippines exports VCO to at least 50 countries, and as of November 2020, annual exports of VCO amounted to $74 million. Switzerland is the only EFTA country included in the list which imported $14,000 worth of VCO in the time period.
For desiccated coconut, the country was able to export $234 million worth to 81 countries. Only 0.3 percent of which went to EFTA countries like Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.