Philippines allows entry of US blueberries

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has finally allowed the entry of blueberries from the United States with initial sales expected to reach P25.3 million for the season.

In a report, the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service said the Philippines would formally open its market to US fresh high bush blueberries starting May 24.

Traders estimate sales of US fresh blueberries could reach $500,000 and could rise further in the years to come.

“Since the US is the only country with official access to the Philippine market, suppliers are poised to take advantage of the opportunity to supply the Philippine retail and food service sectors,” USDA said.

“US suppliers and Philippine importers now have much stronger incentive to cultivate trade relationships to supply the expanding food retail sector, and eventually the food service sector once COVID-19 community quarantine measures are eased,” it added.

In the past, DA had allowed limited and intermittent importation of fresh blueberries specifically for hotels, restaurants, and high-end supermarkets.

Sales in the last five years averaged $150,000 each year or roughly 20 metric tons of blueberries.

“This can exceed $1 million in succeeding years if there is a concerted marketing effort to increase consumer awareness on the availability, quality, and health benefits of US fresh blueberries,” USDA said.

Like all fresh fruit importation, a licensed importer must secure a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry.

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