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PH wants to increase okra, edamame production to boost exports

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government wants to see an increase in the country’s output for okra and edmame, following the recent shipment of these agricultural commodities to Japan.

A statement from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed a private company, Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise, is now planning to expand to a thousand hectares its production of export-quality okra.

This, according to the firm, will be done in collaboration with the DA, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and farming cooperatives.

Earlier this week, Jelfarm, with the support of the Philippine government, were able to export two tons of okra (lady finger) to Japan despite strict COVID-19 quarantine protocols 

In compliance with the Good Agricultural Practices and sanitary, hygienic, and phytosanitary practices for safe, healthy, and fresh okra, the products were allowed to enter the markets of Japan, particularly in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and Nagoya, the DA said. 

“This is an indication that in spite of COVID-19, we are upping the game. This okra export to Japan is a significant development,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.  

“We recognize the efforts of Jelfarm for increasing export of okra to Japan. Japan is a key market for our produce and they are fond of eating okra as part of their diet,” Dar said.

Dar then committed to continue its support to the farmers and groups leading the exportation of okra and edamame to enhance the country’s agricultural production and the livelihood of local farmers.

Moving forward, Jelfarm, one of the country’s leading okra exporters, will be shipping about five tons daily as the harvest season begins.

Come peak season, with full blast operations, it could ship an average of 13 to 15 tons everyday, the company said.

About 300 farmers are involved in the production of the export-grade okra products that are harvested from different farms in 14 barangays of Tarlac.

“It’s a win-win arrangement because the farmers planting these are getting higher levels of income compared to rice,” Dar said.

Right now, okra farmers can harvest 500 kilograms up to one ton of okra per hectare for 75 days straight and earn a net income of P80,000 to P120,000.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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