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Food & Grocery Import market for Expats

Discussion in 'Businesses - Services - Products' started by Bdawg, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Bdawg

    Bdawg DI Junior Member

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    Given the interest in finding things from where ever your homeland is, and how impossible it to find these items on a regular basis, how feasible is the idea of bringing a market to the area that caters to foreigners? Logistics would be an obstacle that one may be able to overcome. Probably would have to deal with import taxes, so basically, unless you can get this stuff dirt cheap to begin with, it's going to be a bit more expensive for the expat to buy, so would it be worth it? Especially given that one of the reasons one would live there is because it's fairly inexpensive compared to our homelands. Has this idea already been tried? If it was tried, why did it fail? Any thoughts on this? Besides food, are there any other items that are impossible to find? Tools? Cooking utensils? I saw strawberries mentioned on another thread, I would think it would be easy to grow them there. Are there food items that are not allowed to grow or simply can't grow there? What about other fruit trees? Apples and cherries? I know that probably importing fresh fruit from other countries would be frowned on, but what about growing your own from seeds? Just curious.
     
  2. DavyL200

    DavyL200 DI Forum Luminary ★ Global Mod ★ Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer

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    I use a guy from ormoc for any brit stuff i want which i cant buy here,yes its a bit more expensive but deff worth it now and then. He brings in dozens of balikbayan boxes from the uk and seems to do ok.
    There are several guys who have lived here for a while who also make alot of nice stuff similar to what we can get back in our home countries,a few are mentioned in the farmers market section here on di.
    As goes for apples and fruit like this deff no to grow here as need a colder climate with seasons. Ive seen some succsess with strawberries up higher in valencia area but down at lower levels its not easy due to the heat.
     
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    Bdawg

    Bdawg DI Junior Member

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    It would be interesting to see what you can get to grow. Bring a bunch of different seeds and experiment with it. Yeah, the seasonal changes probably are definitely needed for many fruit trees. I wonder if the same is true with Raspberries?
     
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    Bdawg

    Bdawg DI Junior Member

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    Perhaps a greenhouse would be a good investment and yield better results?
     
  5. Brian Oinks

    Brian Oinks That's Mr. Pig to you Boy! :) Highly Rated Poster

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    I have been thinking of ordering a dozen LARGE containers of Vegemite and bringing them in in a Balikbayan Box but the last boxes I had sent from Oz were $150.00 per Box, a bit extreme just to get Vegemite, but I did pay around 2000php for the last container I bought from eBay.

    Growing plants from seeds is hit and miss, I have had a little luck with a lot I have tried here, maybe it is the sandy ground, temperature, climate, not sure, but even something as simple as Squash (Pumpkin) which I have been growing since I was 5 years old has failed to bear fruit for me here :sorry:
     
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  6. Notmyrealname

    Notmyrealname DI Forum Adept Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer

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    The problem with growing from seed is that the root needs to get established QUICKLY to provide water and nutrients to the developing shoot. There is a CONSTANT need for water (miss it for even one hour and the plant could die) and sandy soils do not hold water very well (can be improved with use of compost). In addition, the developing leaves will be losing water at a very high rate (by transpiration) and the hot climate will accelerate that. It may be that the uptake of water will not match the loss of water (especially when the plant is still very young), so the plant will die. I would suggest growing the seeds INDOORS in a shaded spot (north facing window would be best) and with the pot inside a clear plastic bag (to help retain water but still allow light in) ....... then planting out when sturdy. If indoors the plant grows towards the light (phototropism) then turn it around regularly. The outdoor site would also benefit by being shady (except of course for plants which grow well in this hot climate) and initially the plant should be covered by a plastic pot (NOT a clear one) to retain moisture and reduce the direct heat of the sun. The lack of sunlight for a few days will not kill the plant but excessive sunlight might. There are, btw, issues about importing plant material (which may include seeds) as it may introduce diseases (especially bacterial, viral, fungal) formerly unknown here and decimate local crops .... some diseases are non-specific, which means that even though you bring in the seeds of species A (which may not be a local crop) that disease could affect Species B, poss C ... etc (which may be local and VERY IMPORTANT crops to the economy).
     
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  7. Notmyrealname

    Notmyrealname DI Forum Adept Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer

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    A greenhouse is for plants which need a higher temperature than that available in the local climate ..... the temperatures in The Philippines are high enough to support most plant life .... but some plants need COOLER conditions and a greenhouse will supply the very opposite. My article above discusses how possibly to overcome this for some plants ..... but there are some plants which may never succeed here whatever you do, other than providing air-conditioning!
     
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  8. Notmyrealname

    Notmyrealname DI Forum Adept Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer

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    Branston's pickle?
     
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  9. ShawnM

    ShawnM DI Forum Patron ★★ Forum Sponsor ★★ Highly Rated Poster Showcase Reviewer Blood Donor Veteran Air Force

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    I've actually wondered with all the expats in and around Dumaguete that someone had not opened something up. I've been overseas for so long there is not too much I really miss from the US as food goes (tools and such are a totally different story). Fortunately I'm back in Korea so some things that I do like (brown mustard, V8 juice) I can just go to the commissary on one of the bases and pick up. Probably the only thing I will bring back to the Philippines when I go on R&R at the end of the month is the mustard.

    There is enough "substitutes" for most cooking that I can get by with Monterey, Robinsons and local things. I'm not the biggest fan of most Philippine food so I tend to tweak things a bit when I'm cooking and end up more on the grill than anything else.

    I would check out a place that had more of a selection if someone was to open something up.

    Shawn
     
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  10. Brian Oinks

    Brian Oinks That's Mr. Pig to you Boy! :) Highly Rated Poster

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    I miss Samboy BBQ Chips (substitute with Doritos) Worcestershire Sauce (substitute with Soy Sauce) and Vegemite (would rather eat my own toe jam than eat Marmite :biggrin: lol)
    Everything else I can get by without... :smile:
     
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