JUNE 15, 2007
 (STAR) By the GO NEGOSYO team - The sweet truth of the matter is, American desserts will never be the same without Philippine mangoes.

Pioneering the dried mango industry in Cebu, Justin Uy faced great challenges in the local market. During the ’80s, the processed fruit industry was relatively new in the country but the international markets were wide open. Seeing the potential of the export market, Uy established Profood International Corp. (PIC) in 1978.

Initially exporting to Hong Kong, PIC’s rise from its initial shipments of 400 kilos saw them penetrating the most discerning US market. And not only did his dried mangoes become one of the country’s unique products sought after in the global market, but PIC also paved the way for our fresh mangoes to be hit the world market.

“It was a tough venture, knowing full well that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there,” Uy says.

Thailand was one of PIC’s stiffest competitors, enticing buyers with cheaper prices. But the quality of Philippine mangoes stood out in the international market. Our local dried mangoes have a distinct fine taste that others could not duplicate.

“Despite their lower prices, our US buyers preferred the Philippine brand,” Uy shared. “They can distinguish the premium ones from the rest of the pack.”

PIC’s success spurred many countries to claim that their mangoes also came from the Philippines in order to command a higher price. Anticipating possible fraud and deception, PIC sought the assistance of Philippine consulates and other government agencies abroad to determine the authenticity of exported mangoes and protect PIC’s – and the country’s – integrity.

Today, Philippine mangoes have become the number one selling mangoes in the US. RP mangoes have also broken into 27 other countries, including Austria, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, China, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iran, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

For his unqualified success in infiltrating the world market, Justin Uy will be awarded by the Philippine Center of Entrepreneurship as one of most inspiring Cebuano entrepreneurs at the Go Negosyo Entrepreneurship Conference, the latest leg of the continuing Go Negosyo campaign spearheaded by Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III and chaired by Jay Aldeguer, owner of Island Souvenirs, slated at the Cebu International Convention Center.

Uy has since devised various marketing strategies and innovative designs to further boost the fruit export business. Its product line has expanded to other dried fruit selections like guyabano, pineapple, papaya, mango tamarind, guava, coconut, fruit cocktail, and calamansi, now available in different corners of the world.

Uy has also entered into the mango puree business. From the old style ”hot pack” technology to the more modernized aseptic fruit puree processing line that produces 40 more metric tons and is more effective in maintaining the fruit’s natural flavor, Uy spearheaded another export feat with his puree “flowing” to Canada, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US. PCI has also set up its own plastic bottling line for fruit purees and juices, as well as a nata de coco bottling line to cater to the Japanese market.

Uy’s has also obtained toll packing contracts with Nestle and Del Monte, two of the most prestigious processed food producers in the world.

Aside from making a mark in international trade, one of Uy’s proudest achievements is successfully uplifting the livelihood of thousands of local farmers. “The many success stories of farmers who were able to improve their lives and send their children to college are testaments of my greater joy and success,” Uy said.

In partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry through the support of CCCI President Francis Monera and Consul Sam Chioson, the Go Negosyo Entrepreneurship Conference is part of the month-long celebration of Cebu Business Month.

The Go Negosyo Entrepreneurship Conference is the first stop of the Go Negosyo Caravan, which brings Go Negosyo forums and expositions to key cities outside Metro Manila.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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