NEDA sees export potential of coffee, cacao

By Leslie Gatpolintan

MANILA -- The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is looking to tap into the huge potential for growth in exports of high-value products especially coffee and cacao, in its efforts to diversify the country’s export products.

NEDA Undersecretary for Planning and Policy Rosemarie Edillon told reporters over the weekend that these products enjoy high demand in international markets.

For cacao, Edillon sees huge potential for exports of premium chocolates, as the country could comply with the single source origin preference of importers.

“The markets are there actually especially with respect to coffee and cacao. They (buyers) are asking these from us. Our problem is being able to produce the volume that they need,” she said. ‘

The NEDA official cited Nestle, a food and beverage company which wanted to buy all the coffee the country could produce.

“But we cannot produce the (required) volume. It requires long-term planning because this is a permanent crop. There has to be a clear direction,” Edillon said.

“There has to be convergence with other programs because we need to produce volume for export,” she added.

The government is targeting an 8-percent growth in merchandise exports for 2018, supported by a revival of the agribusiness sector.

“To achieve this, the Philippines needs to build up integrated industries that would generate higher value addition, especially for key products such as bananas, cacao, coffee, mangoes and rubber as well as for other emerging high value crops,” NEDA Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said. (PNA)