Agriculture producer and trader Hi-Las Marketing Corp. disclosed plans to export fresh fruits to Belgium and other European markets.
Hi-Las Marketing chief operation officer Ram Amores said while Asia has always been a priority market for the company, they are now looking to expand to other regions.
“Now we’re expanding into the European market, in particular to Belgium, where we are negotiating for a trial shipment of calamansi,” he said.
Hi-Las Marketing said it is in talks with importers in Belgium, with support from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and its quarantine division.
The company expressed hope on landing a trade contract soon while prices of calamansi remain competitive.
“To ship 1 ton of calamansi to a market that has not imported calamansi yet, I would consider a major feat in penetrating a market. So hopefully that will be an ongoing concern in the near future, and we hope to penetrate the market while prices are still good,” Amores said.
He said the company also found an opportunity to export semi-processed, pure and frozen calamansi extracts to China during the pandemic, reaching nearly 1.5 million kilogram since 2020.
The surge in global demand for calamansi made up for then losses of other fresh fruit exports.
Hi-Las Marketing is also serving the domestic market’s requirement for calamansi extract. It recently penetrated the fresh fruit markets of Perth and Sydney in Australia for an initial 1.5 metric tons of fresh mangoes.
Amores said the company was expecting to make two more shipments to Australia before the end of the year.
“But what we really are preparing for is the next mango season. What we exported was very high-price, since it is still off-season, but the shipment was already sold even before it left Manila. We’re hoping to offer more competitive pricing during the next mango season,” he said.
The company also made the first Philippine shipment of fresh okra to South Korea, an additional market to Japan where Hi-Las has been exporting for over 15 years.
“Japan and South Korea are very critical markets when it comes to chemical food safety. We take 100=percent control of production, whether though our contract farmers or our employed farm technicians taking care of the farm,” Amores said.
Hi-Las expects up to 20-percent growth in revenues by end-2023.