Invest in the Philippines

Investing Opportunities in the Philippines

Below are various programs you can explore if you’re interested in investing in the Philippines.
9th Philippine Food Expo – 2010 - The Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc. (PHILFOODEX), an organization composed of micro, small, medium and large scale food manufacturers and exporters in the Philippines, is organizing the 9th Philippine Food Expo. The event will be held from February 25 to 28, 2009 at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines.
According to Mr. Roberto Amores, President of PHILFOODEX, the event has been scheduled prior to FOODEX Japan to enable trade buyers to visit two (2) shows in one visit to Asia. This would redound to savings in time and cost.

For this year, Mr. Amores shared that he expects at least 300 exhibitors to participate in the annual event. Exhibitors will comprise of suppliers of processed food, fresh and processed fruits, fresh and processed seafood, snack food and confectionery, bakery products, sauces and condiments, herbal/organic food, food equipment and packaging, food service, native delicacies and provincial cuisine.

Aside from viewing products on display, the event organizer has prepared other activities for registered trade buyers attending the event. These include market matching sessions with exhibitors, private meeting with members of PHILFOODEX, Inc. and other Trade Associations and plant tours/model farm visits.

For market matching, registered trade buyers will be given the opportunity to meet with pre-selected companies based on specific product of interest. And they will also have the opportunity to meet with any of the organizations over 300 members under pre-arranged meeting. The organization can also arrange guided tours to its organization’s members manufacturing plants and farms to ensure maximum benefits for the registered trade buyers during their visit.

Additional activities during the event include the holding of region-specific competitions under the following categories, namely: Best Processed Marine Food Product (Bottled and Packed), Best Processed Meat Product, Best Fresh Produce (Fresh Mango and Fresh Banana), Best Processed Fruit Products, Most Innovative Food Product and Most Innovative Food Ingredient.

It is expected that the event will be visited by 100-member foreign buyers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and the United States of America.

For more information, you may contact the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Los Angeles through its e-mail address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , call Trade Representative Archimedes C. Gomez at (213) 822-4479 or (213) 572-7204 or call Philfoodex Secretariat at (+632) 634 3466, (+632) 634 2171 or CUT Unlimited at (+632) 687-0654, (+632) 687-2955.

Philippine Food Export Business

The Philippines is an agricultural country with almost 40 percent of its population dependent on agriculture. It has been blessed with substantial size of arable land, about 47 percent, which is bigger than China on a per capita basis. With available land and favorable agro-climatic conditions especially in Mindanao, food, that includes fresh and processed, has been identified as one of the top priority revenue streams on which the country exhibits competitive advantage.

Known Filipino-owned and Philippine-based companies engaged in food production, processing and export include San Miguel Corporation (SMC); Republic Flour Mills (RFM); Universal Robina Corporation (URC); General Milling Corporation (GMC); Agri Freeze; BFC Worldwide Inc.; KLT Fruits, Inc.; Festive Foods; Marsman Drysdale Foods; Monde Nissin; Marzell (Royal Cargo); General Tuna Corporation; Alsons Aquaculture Corporation; Citra Mina Seafoods Corporation; PhilBest Canning Corporation and Ocean Canning Corporation among others.

Food export has greatly contributed to the Philippine economy. In 2008, total Philippine food export amounted to US$ 2.31 billion representing 4.71% of the country’s export of US$ 40.02 billion. Exports of processed food and beverages amounted to US$ 1.16 billion, 50% of the total food exports of the same period. Marine and aquaculture products accounted for US$ 631.29 million or 27%, and fresh food US$ 527.64 million or 23%.

Among processed food exports, processed fruits represented 33% or US$ 364.78 million of exports. Major exports under this group were prepared/preserved pineapples and mixture of fruits which represented 59% share or US$ 214.45 million; dried fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and papayas and banana chips accounted for 16% share or US$ 58.64 million; and juices, concentrates and purees represented 22% share or US$81.49 million. Desiccated coconut accounted for 90% of exports of coconut products valued at US$ 247.52 million. Dairy products such as cream, cheese curd and ice cream on the other hand accounted for 17% share or US$ 183.87 million. Other notable processed food exports were cereal and flour based products such as biscuits, pastries and bakery products, coffee, confectionery, meat preparations, nuts and sugar.

Marine and aquaculture products which accounted for 27% share of the total were basically tuna with 63% share or US$ 395.50 million, and shrimps and prawns with 11% share or US$ 71.02 million. Export of milkfish has been growing for the past years with total sales of US$ 10.56 million in 2008.

Tropical fresh fruits such as bananas, mangoes, pineapple and papaya accounted for the bulk of exports of fresh fruits valued at US$ 527.64 or 23% of the total food exports in 2008.

The bulk of Philippine food exports went to the United States and Japan representing 27% share. Other markets were South Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates.

Despite substantial food exports in the US, expanding the export of Philippine food products in said market still presents an excellent opportunity. This is due to the presence of a considerable number of Filipino-Americans in the US. A study shows that Filipinos are the 2nd largest Asian immigrant group in the US with the 2nd highest household income. Filipino accounts for 22% of the total Asian immigrants with China accounting for 35%.

It is high time then for Filipino-Americans to take hold of this excellent opportunity and invest in the Philippines in the production, processing and marketing of Philippine made food products.

The Philippine government is encouraging investments in the production and processing of high value commercial crops that include mango, banana, pineapple and coconut, among others. It also encourages investment in new technology particularly those that will be used in the preparation of healthy foods such as freeze-dried fruits, microwave puffed fruits and banana chips cooked without oil and manufacturing of frozen fruits, fruit puree/concentrate, and fruit juices.

For more information on investment opportunities in the Philippines, you can contact the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Los Angeles through its e-mail address This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call Trade Representative Archimedes C. Gomez at (213) 822-4479 or (213) 572-7204.

Business Opportunities in Coconut

The Philippines is blessed with substantial area of arable land, which is around 47 percent; fertile soil and tropical climate. Except for occasional typhoons that visit the country, which sometimes wrought massive destruction to properties and crops, the Philippine has good climate and soil condition where most tropical crops can grow.

Coconut is a perennial crop that can be found in the entire breadth of the Philippine archipelago; that is from Luzon to Mindanao. However, Mindanao is exceptionally known to have higher concentration of coconut trees and higher volume of production (i.e., in terms of number of nuts and weight), which can possibly be attributed to the uniform amount of rain it receives every year aside from the usual high humidity, as with the rest of the Philippine islands, in which coconut trees thrive most.

About 3 million hectares of the Philippine archipelago is planted with coconut holding approximately 313 million nut bearing trees yielding 14 billion nuts a year.

In the Philippines, coconut has been dubbed the “Tree of Life” since most of its parts have uses.

Coconut is the traditional source of renewable industrial oil use in making soap and food products, such as chocolate coating.

With growing health concerns, the wet process of extracting coconut oil has been reintroduced purposely to harvest virgin coconut oil which is considered as miracle oil. Nutrients, which are lost using high heat process, is preserve through wet process; maintaining the healthy attributes of virgin coconut oil.

Another part of the tree with commercial use is the coconut husk where coco peat and coir are derived. Coco peat is a good plant medium but it should be exposed to rain for some time to wash and lower its cat-ion-exchange capacity, which when not corrected may deprive plants from water. It is a good substitute for peat moss since the latter’s continued extraction has been found to have negative effect on the environment. Coir, which is another by-product, is use as bed mattress and/or cushion for car seats. This can also be twined and waved into geotextile net which is a very good material for soil erosion control, because it can absorb huge quantity of water aside from being a biodegradable material.

A recent commercial development is the positioning of coconut water as athletic drinks because of its high potassium content. Known soda producing and distributing company PepsiCo is reported to have agreed to buy Brazil’s largest coconut water manufacturing company this year.

Coconut is also the source of potent liquor known in the Philippines as “lambanog.” This product has now penetrated the US mainstream market and has been positioned as the tropical vodka; with an increasing following because of its smooth texture. Thanks to the painstaking and pioneering effort of Mr. Rich Cabael, a young Filipino-American entrepreneur and President/CEO of VuQu, saw the potential of the Philippine “lambanog” and pushed it into the mainstream market.

The same fresh coconut sap known as toddy which when distilled becomes the potent liquor “lambanog” is also the source of coconut sugar. According to experts, coconut sugar is good for type 1 and 2 diabetic people because its glycemic index is only 35. Compared to brown sugar and refined sugar cane, coconut sugar contains higher amount of zinc, iron, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium and sulfur. Experts say that coconut sugar can help manage weight and stabilize insulin in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes. Likewise, diabetic people can enjoy coconut sugar without the worries of hyperglycemia. Cecilia Concepcion, another Filipino-American entrepreneur and President/CEO of Abaka Holdings International, is instrumental in introducing this product into the US mainstream market.

It may be high time for Filipino-Americans to consider planting their vacant agricultural lands in the Philippines with coconut or investing in coconut plantation, because of the growing popularity of coconut products attributed to their healthy attributes. A five (5) hectare coconut plantation will be a good start especially for those who are still actively employed and are not contemplating of retiring soon. As the old people say, it’s nice to prepare and invest in the future; and, the time is now. I would then say invest in coconut which is turning to be the “Tree of the Century.”

For more information on trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines, please contact Trade Representative Archimedes C. Gomez at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call the numbers (213) 822-4479 or (213) 572-7204.