With travel restrictions still under close monitoring due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, one would actually wish to be an okra, otherwise known as "ladyfingers" as the Philippine Okra Producers and Exporters Association (POPEA), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) exported the nutrient-dense vegetable to South Korea on June 6, 2021.
In September 2020, DA exported two tons of okra to the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya, Japan where demand is very high.
First batch of 'okra' export off to Japan
Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez showed the government’s full support to the private sector group led by Chairperson Roberto Amores as the country’s initial export of 1,200 kilograms or 1.3 tons of okra to South Korea marks a milestone for local farmers and agri-entrepreneurs.
"This will really strengthen our efforts to support high-value crops not only for local consumption but for exports. Export development and promotion is one of our key strategies in the DA so that the farmers and 'agripreneurs' involved will have more income at the end of the day. The quality of produce will be maintained, and the volume will be there because of consolidated farming," Dar said.
About 500 clustered farmers in Tarlac are involved in the production of export-quality okra products. The producers of fresh okra for export strictly abide by the sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, and Good Agricultural Practices which guarantee product safety and quality.
Traceability codes and date of packing are also indicated in each pack of exported okra.
As the country’s economy continues to wobble its way through recovery, Secretary Lopez said that the new trade with South Korea takes part in the country’s recovery plans and will contribute to its export growth.
This isn’t the first time that the Philippines exported vast amounts of okra to other countries.
On September 29, 2020, Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the ceremonial send-off of the first batch of "okra" (ladyfinger) export to Japan at the Pairpags Center in NAIA Road, signaling the country's attempt to corner a large chunk of Japan's high demand for agricultural products. (RDR with PR)