Seventeen Philippine exhibitors showcased organic products – virgin coconut oil, coconut sugar and sap sugar, rice, sweeteners; fresh produce and seafood; and chocolates at the recent Food&HotelAsia (FHA) 2016 in Singapore Expo. FoodPhilippines was a display of some of the finest in Philippine produce, having undergone stringent selection process and compliant with global packaging, labeling and food security requirements. These have also passed food certifications such as Halal, ISO, USDA Organic and Japanese Agricultural Standard.

According to the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippines ranks fourth in Asia in terms of land devoted to organic agriculture with 101,278 hectares of organic farms. Singapore’s demand for organic and healthy food is flourishing making it an important market for the Philippines.

A smorgasbord of the best natural produce from Region 12 or SoCCSKSarGen in Central Mindanao were available as well for visitors to sample, including banana, mango, papaya and pomelo. Other products featured were avocado, pineapple, asparagus, coconut and coconut-based products, banana and sweet potato chips, dried mangoes, honey cured vinegar, fruit juice and canned tuna.

The FHA provided an ideal platform to bridge the Philippine food industry and the region for new export opportunities. The Philippines is a major exporter of raw ingredients, fresh and processed seafood and fresh produce to the US, Japan, China, Korea, UAE and Singapore. Philippine products are also being toll packed for global brands in the US, Japan and Korea. Singapore ranks ninth in Asia as a food export market for the Philippines, with fresh crab, lobster and prawn as major export items. Other Philippine food products are available in FairPrice, Giant and Chinatown.

“FHA is a great opportunity for Philippine food producers to demonstrate their products’ benefits to new markets,” said Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC)–Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda. “My group along with the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is delighted to offer support and insight to these entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business.”

The Philippine exhibitors managed to get almost 200 qualified leads from countries and companies in and outside Asia, with chocolate-coated dried mangoes generating a lot of interest. The Singapore Fruits & Vegetables Importers & Exporters Association, Singapore supermarket chains and halal importers are also keen to source from the Philippines.

The Philippine participation in FHA is led by the DA-Agribusiness Marketing and Assistance Service (DA-AMAS) in collaboration with DTI’s EMB and PTIC. Held every two years, the FHA is Asia’s largest and most comprehensive international trade event for the food and hospitality industry. This year’s event was attended by more than 72,000 attendees from over 100 countries, a 13.3 percent increase from the last edition in 2014. Aside from organic and healthy food products, the FHA showed a strong trend towards sustainability.