By Maya M. Padillo
DAVAO CITY — Healthy Sweets Mindanao Corp., producer of organic coconut sugar and candies, is slowly expanding its export penetration with buyers from the United Kingdom in addition to Japan.
“We had orders just recently from the UK. We’ve been exporting to Japan, but only in small volumes,” said 63-year old Betty M. More, president and chief executive officer of the family-run social enterprise.
She added that the company also has customers in Australia and other parts of Europe, but the main market is still local.
“Our major clients are supermarkets, grocery stores, specialty stores, pasalubong centers. Others are distributors, processors, restaurants,” said Ms. More in an interview with BusinessWorld.
The company’s products are sourced mainly from its own two-hectare farm in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental, but it also works with small farmers.
“It is planted with coconuts and intercropped with various crops that we use in our candies, teas, jam,” she said.
Apart from coconut sugar, Healthy Sweets makes candy and varieties of tea like ginger, turmeric, guyabano, cacao, oregano, moringa, and mangosteen using coconut sugar as a base ingredient.
“(It’s) value-adding the coconut sap that we harvested,” said Ms. More, noting that the company’s farm is certified by the Control Union for the European Union and the United States Department of Agriculture, and also complies with Japanese agricultural standards.
The company is due to receive the Outstanding Organic Agriculture Farmer award for Davao Oriental province on May 29 in Mati City.
Last year, Mr. More won as Outstanding Coconut Farmer at the provincial and regional levels.
Ms. More said the goal is to have the highest-quality and best-tasting organic coconut sugar and coconut-based products along with increasing the number of farmers and women processors the company works with.
Healthy Sweets will be participating in the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2019 in Manila on May 24 to 26.