The growth was reportedly mainly due to the increased canned tuna exports produced in General Santos City, which have surpassed receipts from canned pineapple products.
GenSan — which hosts six of the country’s eight tuna canneries — is known as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.”
Last year, canned tuna exports earned $174.3 million, which was 44.6 percent of the region’s top 10 export products.
In 2005, canned pineapple exported by giant Dole Philippines, Inc. was the forerunner at $112.3 million, while canned tuna was only $89 million.
Aside from canned tuna and canned pineapple, Southwestern Mindanao also exports crude coconut oil (valued at $56 million in 2006), fresh/chilled/frozen tuna ($23.5 million), copra meal ($7 million), fresh pineapple ($3 million), frozen cooked/pre-cooked tuna loins and flakes ($2.33 million), steel scrap ($2.27 million), banana chips ($2.2 million) and smoked fish $1.7 million).
The region covers the provinces of South and North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The increase in the performance of the regional export sector may have been brought about by the roll back in prices of diesel fuel in late 2006, despite the appreciation of the peso against the greenback.
This was reflected by figures that showed that in the first quarter of 2006, export receipts were placed at $87 million. But in the last quarter of the year, export receipts surged to $112.4 million, when the country’s oil companies started a series of roll back.
United States was the top export destination for products coming from the region at 44.9 percent of the foreign market with a value of $175.4 million.
Next was the European Union at 29.1 percent ($113. 7 million), then Singapore at 9.3 percent ($36.4 million). Japan was fourth at 4.6 percent ($18.1 million).
Other major foreign markets for the region’s various products include Taiwan, China, Canada, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia.