GENERAL SANTOS CITY— The popular fresh solo papaya of Tupi town in South Cotabato has finally reached the fruit market of South Korea.
Milagros Casis, Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 12 director, said Tuesday Tupi papaya producers had made their first shipment to South Korea last week through a supply deal with a Korean firm.
She said the shipment, which comprised of a ton of fresh solo papaya, was consigned to Korean distributor Nurida Company.
The forging of the supply agreement and the delivery of the initial shipment was facilitated by the agency, she said.
“We’ve been exploring and working on sending more of our local products to foreign markets and that is one of our priorities right now,” she said.
Citing the supply agreement between Tupi farmers, represented by local consolidator RM Fruits and the Korean firm, she said two to three metric tons of solo papaya would be shipped to South Korea on a weekly basis following the initial shipment.
Casis said RM Fruits netted the Korean deal after joining the agency-led TienDA Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Outlet in Metro Manila.
The initiative, which was launched in late July, was conceptualized by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to help bring local agriculture and fishery products to bigger markets, especially abroad.
Aside from papaya farmers of Tupi, which is dubbed as South Cotabato province’s vegetable and fruit basket, Casis said other farmers and agri entrepreneurs in Region 12 had started exporting their farm produce.
She specifically cited the Tulunan Mango and Fruits Growers’ Association of Tulunan, North Cotabato that shipped two tons of carabao mango to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates a month ago.
Four years ago, the region’s prime organic colored rice products have also reached the markets in Dubai, Hong Kong and the United States.
DA-12 had also assisted the shipment of pork products from the region to distributors serving Overseas Filipino Workers in Dubai.
“This is a major accomplishment for our farmers and producers and we will continue to assist them in reaching bigger markets,” Casis said.
To sustain these initiatives, she said the agency, through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, is working on the construction of support facilities like treatment plants to further boost export opportunities for various local high-value crops.