PHILIPPINE food manufacturers will head to Germany’s organic trade fair BioFach to promote their coconut products, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) said in a statement Thursday.

The Philippines is the second-largest coconut producer, and is the number one supplier of coconut oil to Germany. More than half of Philippine export revenue from Germany in 2017 was generated by coconut oil.

Nine Philippine companies will exhibit at BioFach, the world’s largest trade fair for organic food and agriculture, on Feb. 12-15. The trade fair welcomed 51,500 visitors and buyers in 2019, with 3,273 exhibitors from 98 countries.

“We are kicking off our 2020 export promotion activities for the food industry with a comeback to the world’s leading platform for organic food in line with DTI’s renewed thrust in elevating the country’s globally competitive food products from the organic, healthy and natural segment,” DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman said in the statement.

CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan said the Philippines first joined the BioFach trade fair through CITEM in 1996, which resulted in initial orders of coconut oil-based herbal soap. Exhibitors from the Philippines came again in 1999, generating $80,000 in initial orders, mostly for banana chips.

Six of the Philippine companies attending the trade fair next year are coconut producers or manufacturers.

The companies will be showcasing virgin coconut oil (VCO), medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) oil, coconut water, coconut sap, vinegar and vinaigrette, coco syrup, sugar and flour, desiccated coconut, coconut cream and coco crisps. The Philippine pavilion will also featured banana chips, cacao chips and muscovado sugar.

The companies participating are AG Pacific Nutriceuticals Corp., Brandexports Philippines, Inc., Cardinal Agri Products, Inc., CJ Uniworld Corp., Filipinas Organic Coconut Product Corp., Lao Integrated Farms, Inc., See’s International Food Manufacturing Corp., Raw Brown Sugar Milling Co., Inc. and Tongsan Industrial Development Corp.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, export sales of coconut oil totaled $706 million in the first nine months of 2019, down 11.7% from a year earlier.

Desiccated coconut exports fell 30.8% to $182 million, while other coconut product exports fell 18.8% to $36 million.

The Philippines in October signed a memorandum of understanding with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), agreeing to specialize in seaweed and coconut product exports to international markets. — Jenina P. Ibañez