AGRICULTURAL  EXPORTS  HIT  $1.041 BILLION, AGRI  DEPT  SAID

MANILA,  AUGUST 3, 2007 (STAR) AGRICULTURAL exports during the first four months this year amounted to $1.041 billion, the Department of Agriculture said yesterday.

Agriculture undersecretary for special concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this is higher by 15.84 percent than last year’s figure of $899,385,011 for the same period last year. She said high-value crops like coconuts, pineapples, mangoes and bananas remain the top agricultural exports.

In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, Romulo-Puyat said this increase in export earnings does not yet include the sale of agricultural machineries, such as reapers, processing machines and machine parts overseas. If these are included in the total, she said exports will total $3,570,601,675 billion.

She said the United States, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong were the country’s top markets for the first four months of the year.

Romulo-Puyat said that among coconut products, exports of desiccated coconuts and raw coir both grew by 17 percent from January to April. She said export of dried pineapple grew by as much as 200 percent in the first four months and fresh bananas by as much as $1.1 million or 0.8 percent.

She said exports of dried mangoes grew by 158 percent while a number of fisheries products also increased sales. Carageenan sales grew from $14.66 million to $22.39 million in the first four months of 2007 while that of milkfish grew from $1.128 million to almost $2 million, representing a hike of almost 76 percent.

She said the US continued to be a top importer of local coconut meat although it was displaced by the Netherlands as the top export destination in the first quarter of the year.

For fresh bananas, Japan remained the top destination, growing by $628,954.

"Dried mangoes found a number of new markets for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of the previous year. These new markets include Thailand, The Netherlands, and Switzerland," Romulo-Puyat said. – Reinir C. Padua


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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