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Fresh fruit imports to rise 5% this year

Fresh fruit imports to rise 5% this year

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is seen to post higher fresh fruit imports this year as more consumers seek healthier food options amid the pandemic, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In a report by its Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the USDA said global fresh fruit exports to the Philippines are projected to increase by five percent from $695 million in 2020.

“During the pandemic, more consumers have been opting for foods that are perceived as healthy and associating fresh fruits with ‘better for you’ options,” the USDA said.

Despite the overall increase, the USDA said fresh fruit exports from the US declined by 35 percent to $32.5 million in 2020 amid freight challenges.

“The decline in US exports was across the top three fresh fruits, namely grapes, apples, and oranges amid ocean freight challenges, while exports of cherries that are air-flown grew by 33 percent,” the USDA said.

This downward trend continued in the first nine months as US fresh fruit exports to the Philippines dropped by 40 percent.

“Traders are optimistic that once the pressure on the global supply chain eases, US fresh fruit exports to the Philippines will bounce back to $50 million in annual sales,” the USDA said.

Despite the decline in US fresh fruit exports, overall global fresh fruit exports to the Philippines remained on an uptrend from January to September, rising by eight percent year-on-year.

China and Australia led the increase with a 9.4 percent and 8.9 percent rise in fresh fruit exports, respectively.