|Philippines Market Development|
The total organic market in the Philippines is relatively small. In 2001, exports were estimated to be P 250 million or US$6.2 million, and by 2003 may have exceeded US$10 million. The domestic organic industry is around P100 million, with a trade estimate of 10-20% annual growth, while imports are estimated to be about P150 million. It is also reported that the demand for organic products will be far greater than local production.
The major domestic organic product in the Philippines is rice. Other products include upland vegetables, papaya, traditional wines, and herbal supplements. Some 20% goes for the producers’ own consumption, and the rest is sold directly in markets. Small farmers are usually formed into groups and most are associated with NGO-assisted social enterprises, especially for root crops, fruits, and vegetables. Processed organic products of these groups include jams, catsup, local wines, and purees.
Herbal supplements also have an increasing share of the market, accounting for an estimated equivalent of 5% of the total spending of Filipinos on synthetic drugs, about US$1 billion annually. Currently, imported herbal supplements are in brisk demand. The most common herbal sold in the country is the bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), followed by herbal personal care products such as papaya-based soaps and astringents. The country is capable of developing into a leading grower of medicinal plants, given its rich biodiversity and traditional use of herbal medicines.
Meanwhile, fresh bananas, banana chips, virgin coconut oil and coconut chips, vinegar, muscovado sugar, coffee, and asparagus are the major organic products exported by the big producers from Visayas and Mindanao. These include banana growers’ associations, coconut producers’ federations, herbal manufacturers, and mango exporters’ associations.
Banana is the largest export crop. Certification of organic exports is provided by European certifiers such as the Institute for Market Ecology (IMO, based in Switzerland), Naturland (Germany), and Ecocert (France). IMO is accredited for organic certification by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS), the USDA, and the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS).
Annually since 1997, the Center for International Trade and Exposition Mission (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry has been hosting the BioSearch Exhibitions for the promotion of organic products. This has allowed small growers and manufacturers to display and promote their organic products.
In general, organic products are a mixture of a focus on local informal markets, where producers are free to label their product as organic, and those that require certification. This is due to the lack of consumer awareness and enforcement of government regulation in the marketing of organic products. Most local organic consumers still are not knowledgeable about standards and certification and still choose products on the basis of labeling. Only a few producers are certified, and the single accredited certification body is still in a weak formative stage. This situation has persisted until the present, when there is already a national policy for organic certification under EO 481 (Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines). It is still too early to tell the impact of certification on market trends.
At this early stage, the expansion of the organic market and consumer promotion are still in the hands of development NGOs, farmer organizations, and associations like OPTA, ALTERTRADE, Rizal Dairy Farms, UMFI, MASIPAG, PDAP, Gratia Plena, and Don Bosco, among others. The same groups, along with CITEM, PCARRD, OCCP, and small corporations, are also responsible for the penetration of Philippine organic products in the global market.
|IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture | email@example.com|