Agribusiness to the Philippines

Trends and opportunities

The market

The Philippines has a young consumer base of over 104 million people (Source: CIA World Fact Book , July 2017), with an estimated 20 million consumers enjoying rising income levels (average annual income of A$16,510), spending power and a growing appetite for quality and premium imported products (Source: US Gain Report, May 2017). Strong population growth alongside rising per capita consumption of cereal, meat and horticulture products are resulting in increased dependency on agricultural commodity imports.

Australian agribusiness exporters represent a growing percentage of the market and are seen as a reliable source of major commodities and products. Increasingly, Australia is also seen as a provider of innovative agricultural technologies and services that contribute to enhanced productivity. Australia is also seen as a strategic partner in helping the Philippines improve food security and strengthen supply chains throughout the country. Australian agricultural exports to the Philippines increased by 16 per cent, from A$ 618 million in 2015 to A$ 717 million in 2016.

The key agriculture exports in 2016 were: (Source: ABS Data on Global Trade Atlas 2016)

  • wheat (A$ 300 million)
  • meat (A$ 149 million)
  • dairy products (A$ 74 million)
  • fruits and nuts (A$ 22 million)

Opportunities

One of the factors driving growth is the change in how Filipinos buy agrifood products. Private consumption of imported products is growing as supermarket chains challenge the dominance of local wet markets, with the former providing broader accessibility and variety of products traditionally offered merely in the latter.

Moreover, a lack of government and private financing, inadequate infrastructure and adverse weather events in recent years have affected local supply chains and hampered efforts to increase productivity.

Lastly, the retail and food service sectors are enjoying a growing healthy and quality-conscious consumer base. The widespread use of digital technology is also creating digitally-informed and up-to-date consumers who are deemed by retail and food service sectors as key target markets for imported agrifood products.

These trends present multiple opportunities for Australian companies interested in supplying premium food and agrifood commodities.

Wheat and other grains

The Philippines milling wheat demand is forecast to grow amidst an expanding middle class and sustained economic growth. Feed wheat imports are likely to further increase fueled by the country’s rising livestock and poultry industries. The US continues to dominate the local milling wheat market. At nearly 2.05 MMT (A$ 688 million), the Philippines ranks as the US’s third largest export market for milling wheat (Source: USDA Gain Report, March 2016).

New supply opportunities exist in the food milling industry with new mills coming online (four in the last two years) and a new generation of management who are more open to exploring wheat varieties from different countries of origin, outside the traditional US wheat suppliers.

The local baking industry is also undergoing adjustments. Consolidation and increase in the market share of large and sophisticated bakery operations are noticeable, as they displace the small traditional ‘mom and pop’ bakeries. Growing demand for mass-produced yet high-quality baked products is a trend which local industry contacts expect to continue in the foreseeable future.

These recent developments indicate increasing and long-term wheat flour demand in the future, thus providing trade and investment opportunities for Australian grains and flour exporters.

The Philippines livestock industry is likewise flourishing and attracting investments from large multinational companies, with Australia owning a lion’s share of the feed wheat market in the Philippines due to quality and consistency. Importation of feed wheat has been increasing in the last three years with total volume reaching around 2.5 million tons in calendar year (CY) 2016. Continued demand from the consolidating hog industry and the growing broiler and layer operations is also evident.

Due to rising income as a result of the strong performance of the Philippine economy, local industry contacts anticipate demand for milling and feed-grade wheat to steadily grow.

Temperate fruits and other vegetables

The value of Australia’s fruit exports to the Philippines has grown from A$ 500,000 in 2010 to more than A$ 22 million in 2016, due to improvements in protocol for the importation of Australian fruits and the strength of our relationship with key Filipino importers. The Now in Season Australia retail promotions, which were conceptualised and piloted in the Philippines, established Australia as a strong counter-seasonal supplier for imported temperate fruits.

The Philippines has become an emerging market for Australian horticulture exporters and will continue to be a key export destination for Australian fresh produce.

Opportunities exist to further increase volumes for key fresh fruit commodities such as table grapes and citrus while the changing consumption behaviour provides larger prospects for vegetables, stone fruits, apples, pears and berries.

Reduced chipping potato tariffs in the Philippines opens opportunity for Australian exporters until 2020

In-quota tariffs for chipping potatoes under the Philippine Government’s Minimum Access Volume (MAV) have been significantly reduced from 40% to 3%, effective from 2017 to 2020. This is stipulated in Executive Order No. 20 (EO 20), which expands the opportunities for increased imports for chipping potatoes.

Australian chipping potato exporters stand to benefit if they work with Philippine importers who apply for in-quota MAV, as tariffs under the ASEAN Australia, New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) still remain at 40% tariff for both in-quota and out-of-quota chipping potato imports. [1] Reduced tariffs at 32% under the AANZFTA will take effect only in 2020 onwards.

HS Code MFN
2016
MFN - EO No. 20
June 2017 - 2020
AANZFTA
2017 - 2019
AANZFTA
2020 and subsequent years
07.01


0701.90.00A
Potatoes, fresh or chilled
Other:
  • Chipping Potatoes In-Quota
40% 3% 40% 32%
0701.90.00B
  • Chipping Potatoes Out-quota
40% 40% 40% 32%
0701.90.00C
  • Other In-Quota
40% 40% 40% 32%
0701.90.00D
  • Other Out-Quota
40% 40% 40% 32%

Filipinos indulge in snacking, both of sweet and savoury foods. The savoury snack industry is expected to reach a retail value growth CAGR of 4% reaching A$2.4 billion in 2023. Potato chips will continue to be the key growth driver with a 10% forecast growth in 2018, mostly due to local manufacturing with multiple flavour innovations led by both local and imported brands, such as Universal Robina Corporation, Liwayway Marketing Corporation, Frito-Lay Corp., and Leslie Corporation. [2]

In 2017, the Philippines imported 20,500 tonnes valued at A$11.6M of fresh or chilled potatoes, the bulk of which was used exclusively for chips manufacturing. Top potato suppliers are the United States valued at A$7.7M (66.8%) and China at A$3.4M (29.5%). [3]

Livestock

The Philippine government’s initiative to raise productivity levels and meet food demand presents an opportunity to supply livestock genetics, equipment and services. The government aims to provide modern and inclusive agriculture such as in irrigation, farm-to-market roads and the establishment of modern post-harvest facilities to minimize production losses.

Competitive Environment

Australia faces competition from the US, Canada, Ukraine, India, China and Argentina. Because of previous economic ties with the US, they are the dominant player and preferred market of choice. The US Wheat Associates have a very strong presence in-market and continue their aggressive marketing programs to sustain their position.

The implementation of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) in 2010 has given Australia a competitive edge it did not formerly have against other international producers, including established exporters to the Philippines like the US, China, Chile and South Africa.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

The implementation of the AANZFTA is helping to strengthen Australia’s commercial ties with the Philippines. In particular, the reduction or elimination of existing tariffs has resulted in substantial new markets for Australian producers. For example, before the agreement was forged, the Philippines had just one agricultural line (of 1,407) with a zero tariff. As a result of the agreement, 75 per cent of all agricultural lines are now eligible for zero tariffs.

Significant gains include the elimination of:

  • 10 per cent tariff for citrus and seven per cent for grapes and citrus
  • 7 per cent tariff for most stone fruits and apples
  • 3 per cent tariff of wheat exports to the Philippines
  • 3 per cent tariff of rolled or flaked oat grain

See the AANZFTA Tariff Finder for more information on applicable tariffs.

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

The Philippines’ retail sector is continuing to expand and modernise, with several multi-national retailing groups now entering the market. This evolution is providing Australian producers with more avenues for the distribution of their products.

While some companies are beginning to import directly, most still rely on traders and agents to supply their produce.

When dealing with importers, Australian agribusiness companies should note that the Philippines is a price sensitive market and at times Filipino importers will look at price over quality. This often happens in the trade of commodities like grains, dairy and fresh produce.

Australian livestock exporters will often deal with a trader or breeder who sells to other farms, or purchases on behalf of the government. Co-load or co-shipment arrangements are also common for larger shipments of cattle. Air-freight shipment of thoroughbred horses and small ruminants, like goats and sheep, are also becoming more common.

Distribution channels

There are various channels for exporting agribusiness products to the Philippines. For agribusiness commodities such as grains, exporters can either sell to traders or directly to food or feed millers.

Industry associations, which represent the majority of the feed millers and processors, also import wheat in bulk.

The channel for fresh produce exports is normally through wholesalers or traditional importers who sell to distributors and/or supermarket concessioners. There are a small group of importers who are also distributors and supermarket concessionaires themselves.

Transport

Sea freight to the Philippines from Australia takes approximately two weeks (14-28 days), with transshipment points in Singapore or Hong Kong. Manila is the main port, followed by Cebu (Visayas) and Davao (Mindanao). Sea freight is generally used by most exporters.

Airfreight takes eight to twelve hours and is the only option for perishables, but available space on flights is at a premium.

Links and industry contacts

Bureau of Animal and Industry 
Bureau of Plant and Industries 
Department of Agriculture 
Federation of Goat and Sheep Producers Associations of the Philippines Inc. 
National Dairy Authority

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[1] Tariff Commission of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 20 of 2017 [2] Euromonitor: Savoury Snacks in the Philippines, 2018 [3] Trade Map Data, 2017

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