The Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remains a lucrative market for Philippine produce and goods as food exports to the Middle East country remained steady in 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic.
In a statement Tuesday, January 12, PTIC-Dubai commercial attaché Charmaine Yalong said with the large presence of Filipinos in the country, there is an increasing demand for Filipino food products especially with Filipino brands now being part of the mainstream markets.
Further, Yalong added there is also a rising number of Filipino restaurants in malls and city centers in the UAE as more Filipino franchisors and Middle East franchisees cater to the demand for Filipino food products.
“(A)side from gratifying the cravings of our kababayans for native Philippine products, the cosmopolitan tastes of locals and expatriates in the UAE are now being catered to as well. A wide range of these products are now available side-by-side with other products from Asia, Europe and the United States in the shelves of supermarkets here in the UAE,” she said.
From January to June 2020 alone, Yalong noted that Philippine food exports to the UAE sustained growth.
Processed food and beverage exports amounted to USD10.86 million, exports of pineapple and its byproducts reached USD14.02 million, fresh bananas amounted to USD12.9 million, tuna exports valued at USD3.3 million, and fresh and processed fish at USD590,000.
“The continued support to Philippine exporters, through trade referrals and organization of Philippine participations in trade exhibitions and outbound business missions, contributed to the increasing presence of Philippine products in the UAE,” she said.
The demand for Filipino produce and goods can also be seen in the cargo flights of Cebu Pacific, as 29% of the total fruit exports it carried from January to September last year were delivered to Dubai, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
Next to Hong Kong, the UAE is only the other market where the Philippine carrier delivered 55% of fruit exports in the same period.
With eased travel restrictions in the second and third quarters of 2020, Cebu Pacific was able to conduct 12 cargo flights between Manila and Dubai—delivering food exports from the Philippines.