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Philippines’ organic rice exports to US, UAE rise

Philippines’ organic rice exports to US, UAE rise

MANILA: The Philippines has sent another 13.5 million metric tons of organic rice to the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

The bulk of the exports or 10 million metric tons supplied by the Don Bosco Multipurpose Cooperative went to Dubai, while 3.5 million was taken in by the United States.

The cooperative has been exporting to the United States since 2014 while exports to UAE started in 2012.

According to Romano Laurilla, general manager of Don Bosco MPC, the opportunity to export organic black rice to the US was provided by Justin Garrido, a social entrepreneur and co-founder of Social Project PH. He is also the cooperative’s distribution partner in the United States.

“The additional 10 MT organic rice shipment is the product of the Dubai Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Reintegration Program,” Laurilla said in a statement.

Under this program, OFWs adopt organic rice farmers and provide financing to organic rice cultivators in M’lang, North Cotabato.

“Through this program, we offer our OFWs a potential opportunity to invest here in the Philippines while they are earning abroad,” Ofelia Domingo, regional director of Department of Labor and Employment Region 9, said in the statement.

Don Bosco’s MPC’s organic black, red and brown rice are cultivated in the towns of M’lang, Tulunan, Midsayap, President Roxas and Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, and Surallah in South Cotabato. Don Bosco’s operations currently cover 500 hectares and there are plans to expand to Sultan Kudarat.

Don Bosco holds a certificate from the Organic Certifying Center of the Philippines (OCCP). It is also the first cooperative to be awarded a Certification of Environmental Standards (Ceres). Its products are also certified organic by the National Organic program of the US Department of Agriculture.