CEBU-BASED dried mango exporter Profood International Corp. is expanding its presence in Southeast Asia through the construction of a factory in Cambodia, said its founder and president Justin Uy.

Uy said the Cambodia plant is meant to address the growing demand for dried mangoes in the international market, particularly in China.

The regional expansion will also help solve the mango supply problem in the country.

“The good news is that we can’t produce enough for the market. The bad news is that I need more mangoes,” said Uy. “We are putting up another factory in Cambodia, purely for the China market, because the Philippines doesn’t have enough mangoes and we don’t want to lose the market to other Asian countries.” Uy said that as soon as the plant in Cambodia starts operating, they can address the global requirement and remain a leader in dried mangoes.

“We control the whole world now (in terms of dried mango share), but we don’t have enough mangoes,” said Uy.

The plant in Cambodia is an 11-hectare investment that can produce about 4,000 tons of dried mangoes in one season. The plant is already under construction and is slated for completion in 2019.

Demand for dried mangoes in China alone is 30,000 tons annually.

China, according to Uy, presents a huge opportunity for growth because of its 1.3 billion population.

The Cebu plant in Mandaue City produces dried mangoes for US, Japan, Korea, and China, among others. The plant, however, can no longer facilitate expansion.

Profood products are sold in 52 countries. Its major markets are Canada and the United States.

Uy’s entry to Cambodia is going to strengthen its market leadership in Southeast Asia, home to over 630 million consumers.

Low supply

In a separate interview, Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona identified the mango sector as one of the sectors experiencing a tough ride in 2017 because of the supply problem.

“Exporters are now asking where they could get sustainable supply,” he said.

A downtrend of 5.4 percent was observed in the volume of production of mangoes during the third quarter of 2017, with 55.44 thousand metric tons against the 2016 third quarter level of 58.60 thousand metric tons, according to the July to September 2017 report if the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

This was a result of fewer trees induced due to the anticipation of rainy weather in Zamboanga Peninsula (Zamboanga Norte and Zamboanga City) and Northern Mindanao (Misamis Occidental).

PSA said Central Visayas production of 18.29 thousand metric tons represented 33.0 percent of the national output. Northern Mindanao came next with 20.5 percent and Caraga with 12.1 percent. Carabao mango contributed 80.8 percent of the total mango production during the period.