PH fresh okra to enter South Korean market

The Philippines will start exporting okra or lady’s fingers to South Korea for the 2021-2022 season after it complies with the agreed requirements set by both countries, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“After the resumption of okra exports to Japan last year, we are opening yet another market access for our okra, this time with the huge Korean food market,” DA Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

He said the Philippine government’s request since 2014 to have okra access the Korean market has now finally been granted.

DA Agriculture Attaché Aleli Maghirang said the South Korea government announced the completion of the ruling process for Philippine okra to access the Korean market through an official notification from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) on May 6, 2021.

“I commend the efforts of concerned DA offices, particularly the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul, for this breakthrough and significant development that will also pave the way to more farm and fishery exports to Korea,” Maghirang said in a report to Dar.

Exports of fresh, green okra pods will be sourced initially from Tarlac, where BPI-accredited farms and packing houses are located.

Currently, there are four Philippine okra exporters-Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise; Greenstar Produce Philippines Inc.; AAMC Foods Corp.; and Hi-Las Marketing Corp.-all members of the Philippine Okra Producers and Exporters Association.

Maghirang said that due to the current pandemic-related travel restrictions, Korea’s MAFRA Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency has requested BPI to conduct on its behalf appropriate investigations and provide inspection report in lieu of the required Korean on-site survey of the okra farms in Tarlac. Once the requirements are complied with, Philippine okra exports to Korea may commence, she added.

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