Philippine Organic Market
Currently, the Philippine organic sector is relatively small. Industry estimates indicate the overall value at about Pesos 250 million ($6.15 million) of which about 60 percent consists of imported processed products. Domestic production is growing at 10 to 20 percent annually, although less than one percent of the agricultural acreage in the Philippines is farmed organically, with most concentrated outside metropolitan Manila. Major domestic output includes fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, rice, sugar, soybeans, honey, livestock and poultry, dairy and fertilizer. Indications are that demand for organic products will outpace local production.
Presently, organics is a niche market supported by higher-income, health-conscious Filipinos who have traveled overseas, and expatriates concerned with food safety, the environment and personal health. Major market constraints include lack of awareness of organics among mainstream Filipino shoppers, limited availability, and prices which average 20 to 30 percent higher than for conventional products. The major force behind the development of the Philippine organic industry is the Organic Producers Trade Association. NGOs and interested parties from Europe are also helping expand the sector. The Philippine Department of Trade provides support in fostering exports, and in November 1999 sponsored an international organics conference in Tagaytay City which drew participants from around the world.
Best prospects for U.S. exporters are processed foods, but opportunities also exist for inputs such as seed, feed, technology and equipment to support the growing domestic production sector. Organic regulations are being developed, but there are currently no special labeling or import requirements for organic products. U.S. exporters interested in the Philippine organic market should work closely with importers and customers and be prepared to commit resources for promotion and advertising.
Mexicos Growing Organic Sector
Organic production in Mexico is on the upswing. From 1996 to 1998, land area devoted to organics increased 140 percent from 23,000 hectares (56,800 acres) to 55,000 hectares (135,900 acres). Organic methods are used in many areas of the country, yielding a diversity of crops including coffee, tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, peas, melons, squash, eggplant, apples, sesame, beans, chickpeas, blue corn, peanuts, vanilla, pineapples, herbs, avocados, and more. About 95 percent of Mexicos 28,000 organic producers farm small areas and together account for 89 percent of the organic acreage. The rest are large-scale commercial growers who benefit from economies of scale and a more developed infrastructure. Most of Mexicos organic output is destined for the export market. Exports are valued at US$70 million annually. U.S. and European certifiers are active in certifying crops for export, whereas their Mexican counterparts certify products for local consumption.
The demand for imported organic products in Mexico currently is quite limited due to low consumer awareness, high prices, undeveloped distribution channels and strong domestic production.
For more news on organics, see HTPs monthly newsletter "Organic Perspectives," available at the HTP home page: http://www.fas.usda.gov/htp/organics/organics.html The newsletter contains reports on organics from around the world gleaned from attache reports, trips made by HTPs organics staff, and other sources. The newsletter also covers items of interest about the U.S. national organic program and the domestic organic industry. A list of upcoming conferences, trade shows and other events is included in every issue.
(For further information, contact Janise Zygmont at 202-720-1176.)