THE US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that Cebu City has the potential to service direct exports of US agricultural products, according to a report by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
“Cebu offers strong opportunities for US meat, potato, dairy products, and animal feed ingredients,” the USDA said.
It added that the Cebu port remains the largest domestic shipping port in the Philippines, serving as a distribution center for some agricultural products and a gateway to other parts of the Visayas.
The USDA said that Cebu presents opportunities for shipments of animal feed ingredients, especially soybeans, as the area is in one of the top animal feed producing regions in the Philippines.
The FAS said that some hotels and restaurants in the city purchase produce and beverages directly from importers to reduce costs.
“Quick-service restaurants import US poultry cuts and potato fries, while some restaurants and hotels buy US prime beef and pork cuts, dairy products, and fruit from grocery stores,” it added.
The FAS said that some Cebu-based restaurants and hotels occasionally surpass their Manila counterparts in sales.
“Some of the more popular US products found in retail stores are beef, pork, chicken, turkey, apples, oranges, lemons, strawberries, condiments, soups, non-alcoholic beverages, and wines,” it said.
The USDA recommended that exporters provide trade support such as sampling, consumer and trade promotions, and trade servicing, especially for new-to-market products.
It said some companies incur additional shipping costs, have longer lead times, and are deprioritized at times, leading to occasional shortages during peak season, when shipping directly to Manila.
“A shipment from Manila takes an additional month before arriving in Cebu. US exporters may consider contacting agents, distributors, or importers based in Cebu to explore potential direct shipments,” it said. — Adrian H. Halili