02/14/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2020 04:38
Author: DA Communications Group | 14 February 2020
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar seeks to elevate agriculture cooperation with the Kingdom of Belgium during a courtesy meeting with Ambassador Michael Goffin on February 13, 2020.
With Belgium as one of the important export destinations for Philippine agricultural products in Europe, Dar hopes to continue a strong relationship with the country by increasing the volume of exports and pursuing new areas of collaboration.
He said that apart from the existing agreement with LR Group, an Israeli company, the Department of Agriculture (DA) still needs more investments in Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS), since two million hectares of farmland still need to be irrigated.
Ambassador Goffin proposed opportunities in the form of grants, loans, and business ventures for the collaboration on SPIS.
Following this development, Dar ordered the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) Director Ariodear C. Rico to oversee the technical aspect of the project. He also directed the involvement of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in the project.
'We have set new paradigms to elevate Philippine agriculture, not only to improve productivity but to broaden our horizons into inclusive agribusiness,' Dar said.
During the meeting, Dar mentioned the need for the improvement of agricultural logistics system in upland areas, cold chain systems, product packaging, product grading and food safety, and market information system.
After the discussion, both sides agreed to pursue cooperation to support the livestock development program of the Philippines, especially for the improvement of cattle stocks in the country through cross-breeding.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Goffin seeks for the lifting of the temporary ban on the importation of pigs and pork products from Belgium issued by DA in 2018, as well as the accreditation of Belgian fruits.
Assistant Secretary for Livestock William C. Medrano said they will review the report submitted by Belgium and cross-check it with information from OIE.
'We do not want to impede the trade but food security is still our priority,' Dar said.
Later this year, a group of companies from Belgium will visit the Philippines to help local farmers improve cacao production in terms of volume and improving the quality. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)