MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines may start importing apples from Iran once test analysis and sampling have been approved, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
As part of standard procedure, the DA said it is in process of finalizing the pest risk analysis in apple fruit samples from the said country after Iranian Ambassador to the Philippines Mohammad Tanhaei expressed interest to bring the produce to the local market.
“I’m still waiting for the results, and if everything turns out okay, rest assured that (the document on) importation of apples is ready for signing,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
The DA is yet to quantify the total volume and value that the Philippines may import from Iran.
Data showed that in 2015, fresh apples represent 43 percent of the $205.6 million imported fruits.
China supplies over 90 percent of imported apples, while the remaining originates from the US and New Zealand.
Aside from apples, Iran may also bring in other produce such as cherries, pomegranates and pistachios to the country.
“They are also willing to collaborate with the Philippine government in research and development for rice, biotechnology and modern farming,” Piñol said.
In return, the Agri chief requested the Iranian government to reduce the tariff on tropical fruits, particularly bananas coming from the Philippines.