Herbal sector targets $1B in exports

Published by rudy Date posted on June 11, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The herbal industry is going after $1 billion in exports by next year, according to the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines Inc. (CHIP).

“That is the industry-wide target, not just CHIP,” CHIP secretariat executive director Riza Gatdula-Lumontad said yesterday in an interview.

To reach the target sales, she said stakeholders would need to work on various facets of exporting, from differentiating products to marketing.

“One important factor is the tariff code, which will help us track exports because right now, some of the industry’s products may be classified as food, for example. So this is something we are working on,” she said.

CHIP groups over 50 members, such as manufacturers, distributors, suppliers of raw materials, service providers, scientists, academics and inventors.

These companies make natural, herbal organic food products, health products, food supplements and personal care products.

The organization considers the Middle East as the next biggest market for herbal products next to North America, as it has one of the highest concentrations of Filipino expatriates.

In Dubai alone, CHIP estimates that there are about 500,000 Filipino expatriates who are potential buyers of herbal products.

In terms of marketing, however, the industry has an offer of help from the Department of Agriculture. The department earlier said in a statement that it was helping the herbal industry reach the vast Filipino expatriate sector.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap said the government was willing to invest in crops used as raw materials for organic food, personal care and wellness products, and food supplements.

He said, however, that CHIP’s members would have to commit to purchase the crops to guarantee income for farmers.

“We are willing to invest so that farmers can plant the raw materials that are needed to produce herbal and organic products,” Yap said.

He said the department was also ready to train farmers so they could apply the necessary technologies to commercialize the production of these raw materials. –Riza T. Olchondra, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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