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24 September 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—More Filipino agriculture and food companies are hoping to find a niche in the growing American organic premium food market, according to the Philippine Embassy.

The Embassy said four Filipino coconut product manufacturing companies will be taking part in Biofach America—All Things Organic 2013—touted to be the leading organic trade fair in the United States—as part of their efforts to make their presence felt in the American market.

The Department of Agriculture, through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service and the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Product Standards, is supporting the participation of the four companies in the trade fair to be held at the Baltimore Convention and Exhibition Center in Maryland from 26 to 28 September 2013.

“We are hoping that the Philippines would be able to ride on the positive projection for the American market and find a niche for its organic coconut products here in the US,” Agriculture Attaché Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa said, citing the 11 percent growth that brought to $26.3 billion the value of sales of certified organic foods in specialist and conventional retail outlets in the US.

“We can be proud of various Philippine coconut food products which are not only delicious and interesting but also promise to bring nutritional and health benefits,” Javelosa added.

The Philippine coconut industry is a dominant sector of Philippine agriculture with around 3.5 million coconut farmers and 25 million Filipinos directly or indirectly dependent on the industry, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority.

While organic agriculture is in its formative stages in the Philippines, it is fast gaining ground, according to Javelosa who listed rice, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, soybean, honey, some livestock and poultry, fish, dairy products and fertilizers among the organic products available in the country.

“Organic products, such as muscovado sugar, fresh bananas, banana chips and coconut oil end up in the international market, particularly Japan, Western Europe and the US,” she said.

Javelosa said the Philippines will be represented in the three-day trade fair by: Treelife Coco Sugar of Carmen, North Cotabato (coconut sugar); Filipinas Organic Coconut Products Corporation of Mandaue City, Cebu (virgin coconut oil);  Nature’s Blessings of Paranaque City, Metro Manila (virgin coconut oil, organic coconut flour, organic coconut chips and flakes and desiccated coconut); and Beneville Corporation of Quezon City (organic coconut sugar, organic coconut nectar, organic coconut sap vinegar, organic coconut jam and organic banana chips).

Javelosa is inviting interested parties to meet representatives of the four companies at the Philippine Booth located at Level 100 Stands No. 2107 and 2009 inside the Baltimore Convention Center starting Thursday.

Biofach America is expecting more than 22,000 visitors to attend the trade fair where participating companies from North and South America, Europe and Asia will be presenting raw materials as well as new and proven organic products in the food and non-food sector.

The holding of Biofach America comes a few weeks before the 1st Philippine Natural and Organic Products Expo sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. The expo will run from 17 to 19 2013 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum 1 in Pasay City, the Philippines. ###