Pineapples from S. Cotabato reach US market

GENERAL SANTOS CITY--Fresh pineapples from Region 12 have finally entered the United Sates (US) market, with weekly shipments lined up starting this month.

Ramon Manansala, a fruit producer and consolidator based in South Cotabato province, said Monday they made their maiden shipment to Saipan last May 10 through assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Region 12.

Manansala, chair of RM Fruitz International, said they shipped an initial nine metric tons (MT) of high quality fresh MG3 pineapples to a buyer based in Saipan, the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands and a commonwealth of the US.

He said the pineapples were mainly produced by farmers in Tupi town and the neighboring areas in South Cotabao.

The area’s pineapple produce have already reached markets in Pakistan, South Korea and China these years.

“This is the first that we have penetrated the US market,” Manansala said.

After the first shipment, which was made through the Makar port here, he said they will be sending 18 MT of fresh pineapples weekly to Saipan.

Manansala credited such breakthrough to the DA, which had brought him to various international trade fairs and expositions, which enabled him to meet and close marketing deals with major buyers from abroad.

The company was assisted by DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, University of the Philippines Los Baños and the municipal agriculture office of Tupi.

Aside from pineapples, RM Fruitz has been also exporting solo Papaya to Hong Kong and South Korea.

The company has also helped a group of organic banana producers from Tupi export their produce to Japan.

Milagros Casis, DA-12 regional executive director, said the shipment of fresh pineapples to Saipan shows that the region’s products are of top quality and could compete in the foreign markets.

Casis said they expect more products from the area to eventually reach other major markets abroad through the support programs of the agency. (PNA)