Philippines Hass avocado approved for export to South Korea

2023 September 13

EXPORT QUALITY. Dole, one of the country’s largest producers of fruits, describes their Hass avocado as creamy and smooth, with no bitter taste. The Korean government has approved the export of Philippine Hass avocado to South Korea, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Tuesday (Sept. 12, 2023). (Photo courtesy of Dole Philippines)

MANILA – The Korean government has approved the export of Philippine Hass avocado to South Korea, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Tuesday.

The DFA said the country has completed the requirements for the ruling process for the entry of the tropical fruit after Official Notification 2023-33 of the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Sept. 8.

“The Philippines may already export Hass avocado for the 2023-24 season as it is now compliant with the mutually agreed requirements in the workplan,” it said.

The fresh Hass avocado exports from the Philippines are expected to be sourced from the orchards and packing houses of Dole Philippines in Davao, Bukidnon and South Cotabato.

Hass is a variety of avocado that is dark green in color with bumpy peel, which when ripe, becomes dark purplish-black and yields to gentle pressure.

The approval for its import to Korea follows a series of inspections last February.

Philippine Ambassador to Korea Theresa Dizon-de Vega acknowledged the efforts of Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, the Bureau of Plant Industry headed by Director Glenn Gerald Panganiban and the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul, headed by Agriculture Attaché Aleli Maghirang, for this market access milestone for new agriculture exports to Korea. 

“On the heels of the recently signed Philippines-Republic of Korea Free Trade Agreement, this is a welcome development for furthering our trade relations with Korea,” she said.

“We are expecting commercial shipment of Philippine Hass avocado to Korea to commence soon.”

This achievement is in line with the priorities of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., concurrently agriculture chief, for the acceleration of agricultural development in the country.

Hass avocado enjoys popularity in South Korea as a nutritional ingredient for salads and sandwiches. It is available in leading retail stores and the online market in fresh and frozen forms.

The DA, through the Philippine Agriculture Office in Seoul and in close coordination with Dole Korea, will support the Philippines’ avocado promotional activities in South Korea to increase consumer awareness and boost its exports.

As one of the largest food importers in the world, South Korea is a lucrative market for Philippine agricultural exports.

In 2022, Korea ranked as the fourth largest destination of Philippine agri-food exports with USD574.27 million worth of agri-fisheries exports.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Philippines recorded a 9 percent increase in agri-fisheries exports to Korea in 2022, generating a USD307.47 million trade surplus in favor of the Philippines, the DFA said.

A majority or 56 percent of the Philippines’ agri-exports to South Korea are tropical fruits.

The Philippines is also the sole exporter of fresh okra to the country, along with exports of high-value seafood products,  such as abalone, sea cucumber, octopus, blood cockle, eel and fish.

Exports start in late September

The DA, meanwhile, said the export of Hass avocado to South Korea for the 2023-2024 season would start later this month.

“We thank the Korean government for finally approving the market access of our Hass avocado exports,” Panganiban said in a statement Wednesday.

The market access of Hass avocado to South Korea was first requested by the Philippine government in 2009 but was put on hold due to the one-at-a-time policy for Pest Risk Analysis (PRA).

The PRA for Hass avocado resumed after the Philippines’ success in securing market access for okra exports to Korea in 2021.

Hass avocados have become popular in South Korea as the main nutritional ingredient for salad and sandwiches.

Joyce Ann L. Rocamora (PNA)