Consumers will soon enjoy fresh celery, lettuce, and cruciferous vegetables from the United States, as the Philippine government formally lifted restrictions on the importation of these vegetables.
The US Embassy in Manila said in an official statement to the press that limitations on the import of said vegetables, which are difficult to grow locally, due to climate requirements, was formally lifted on June 30, 2014.
The lifting of the import restrictions is not only expected to expand fresh produce options for the local market, but – as indicted in the US embassy statement – also to strengthen agricultural ties between the two countries.
Prior to the lifting of the restrictions, American producers had limited access to the Philippine vegetable market. Only $57,000 worth of fresh produce was exported to the Philippines in 2013; an amount which is now forecast by experts to increase to about $1M in two years.
Under the agreement between the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), all fresh vegetable shipments will have a Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Phytosanitary Certificate, as a guarantee of quality and adherence to the requirements set by the Plant Quarantine SPS Import Clearance. Importers will likewise be asked to secure an SPS Import Permit from the DA Bureau of Plant Industry.