PH starts exporting okra to Japan
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country started shipping okra, or lady finger, to Japan on Sept. 29, providing additional income to Filipino farmers during this time of the pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, the DA said about 300 farmers from 14 barangays in Tarlac are involved in the production of export-grade okra. Initial shipment was at two tons, it added.
The DA said that one of the exporters, JelFarm, will ship about five tons daily once harvest season starts. By peak season, it will increase shipments to about 13 to 15 tons daily, it also said.
“Japan is a key market for our produce and they are fond of eating okra as part of their diet,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said. “It’s a win-win arrangement because the farmers planting these are getting higher levels of income compared to rice.”
Demand for okra in Japan is specifically high in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and Nagoya, DA said.
The department also noted that okra farmers can harvest from 500 kilograms up to one ton per hectare for a period of 75 days and earn net income of P80,000 to P120,000.
Dar said this development shows that the department is “upping the game” despite the global health crisis.
JelFarm will be working with the DA, Bureau of Plant Industry, and farming cooperatives to expand its okra plantation up to 1,000 hectares to increase production of okra for export.
Aside from continued support to okra farmers, Dar also committed to continuously assist producers of edamame, a type of young soybean also being exported to Japan, to boost their livelihood and the country’s agriculture sector.
The country also exports banana to Japan, but the Philippine market share declined due to tight competition, higher tariffs, and low output