In the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture 7 is encouraging the planting of high-value crops like okra. However, it still stressed that the region’s food security comes first. The initiative came after the country exported tons of okra to Japan in a bid to explore more market opportunities that can benefit the farmers.
“Okra is part of our lowland vegetable basket. We also distributed seedlings for that. However, those export-grade okras to Japan reached the point that their volume of production reached a certain level that made them able to export,” DA 7 Director Salvador Diputado said. He added that the region’s volume of production is sufficient for the local demand.
In Central Visayas, the DA 7 has been distributing seeds of high value crops to different cities and municipalities. This includes cucumber, upo, kangkong, pole sitao, bell pepper, ampalaya, eggplant, squash, tomato, hot pepper, pechay and okra.
Recently, Agriculture Secretary William Dar and agri-preneurs, Jeffrey Fernandez and Rap Pelayo of Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise led the initial shipment of two tons of okra (lady finger) to Japan on Sept. 29, 2020. About 300 farmers are involved in the production of the export-grade okra products that are harvested from different farms in 14 barangays of Tarlac. The okras will be marketed in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya where the demand is very high.