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Vietnam opens up to Philippine fruit exports
In a statement, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Hanoi has notified Manila of its inclusion in the list of countries that can export plant-based products.
“It has been a worthwhile effort, especially for the personnel of the Quarantine Services of the Bureau of Plant Industry, who have been working diligently to realize this milestone,” Anna Abejuela, special agriculture representative of the Philippine Embassy in Thailand, said.
Philippine growers of Cavendish bananas and pineapples, as well as makers of processed fruit products such as dried mangoes, banana chips and canned pineapple products are among those than can begin shipments to Vietnam.
“Only big companies have food safety control systems in place. Small farmers are not even aware of the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which is one of the requirements for exporters,” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary Paz Benavidez II, adding that Vietnam’s decision was made even as the Philippines has yet to issue implementing rules for the Food Safety Act.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Vietnam’s decision could pave the way for easier accreditation of other Philippine products other than those of plant origin such as livestock.
“This accreditation reflects how we have improved, particularly on our products of plant origin and we are positive that this further builds our integrity in the Asean and the international market,” Alcala said.
“Access to the Vietnamese market could further boost our competitive advantage in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) market in 2015, and serve as springboard for other opportunities for the Philippine agricultural sector in the international arena,” he said.
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