SINGAPORE and the Philippines’ southern islands Mindanao are boosting food trade, including halal products, following a recent visit by a delegation from the latter, a business leader said.
Arturo M. Milan, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry area vice president for Mindanao, said their business mission last week to Singapore spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority included representatives from private companies, non-government national government agencies, and local governments.
“There was a lot of interest generated because for the first time we brought in samples,” Mr. Milan said during the Habi at Kape media forum.
“You know Singapore is very strict on bringing samples, what we did was we coursed it through the Philippine embassy to Singapore.”
He said they were able to present products from micro and small entrepreneurs as well as sell a 40-footer container of pineapple and one 40-footer container of papaya.
Singapore buyers expressed interest in other fruits such as mango and banana, coffee, and cacao, among other crops.
“Singapore buys 96% of their food requirement through imports. Right now, there is a shortage of chicken worldwide because of bird flu scare so there is a big demand from the Singaporean market for food. That is an opening (opportunity) for us, Mr. Milan said.
The delegation also included representatives from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), who were able to network with halal product suppliers in Singapore.
“Because that’s the issue with our Muslim tourists, they don’t come to Mindanao because they have problems on where to eat at halal registered restaurants. There was a lot of discussions about Halal products that can be sourced in Singapore,” Mr. Milan said.
“Our representatives coming from the BARMM areas are happy that they can look at now sourcing halal products from Singapore,” he added.
Singapore Airlines and its low-cost subsidiary Scoot have several regular flights between Singapore and Davao City in Mindanao. — Maya M. Padillo