MANILA, Philippines: The Philippines remains open to explore opportunities to strengthen agricultural cooperation with China in a bid to spur the economic recovery of both nations.
During the Philippines Shina Agriculture Cooperation forum organized by the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII), Agriculture Secretary William Dar acknowledged that strengthening agricultural ties with China could aid economic recovery and build resilience.
“As we are morally compelled by the consequences of the pandemic, our restrengthened ties could be channeled towards swift economic recovery and building resilience against future crises,” Dar said.
Dar said the forum is an initiative that could help promote future partnerships between the two countries and spur economic growth.
“It also recognizes the various trade relationships between China and the Philippines, which has grown by an average of 17 percent in the last five years,” Dar said.
Meanwhile, Dar also recognized the contributions of China’s father of hybrid rice, Yuan Longping, to the country which helped the development of the Philippine agriculture sector.
“Through his mentorship, he has spread so many possibilities for increasing self-sufficiency here in the Philippines,” Dar said.
“In a way, part of the historic rice harvests realized by the Philippine agriculture sector in 2020 and in the first semester of 2021, we owe to him, as hybrid rice cultivation is a significant part of this growth,”
Last year, the Philippines achieved a record production of palay or unhusked rice of 19.4 million metric tons (MT), which resulted in rice self-sufficiency of 90 percent.
“The Philippine government, especially the agriculture sector, will be forever grateful for his involvement especially in teaching the hybrid rice cultivation method to our local farmers,” Dar said.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said China has become the third-largest export country of Philippine agriculture products, while China has become the second-largest import source of agricultural products for the Philippines.
Huang said Philippine bananas now account for more than half of the market share in China.
He said Philippine fresh coconut has entered the Chinese market for the first time and that the Philippines has become the first Asian country to export avocado to China.
“Last Friday, during a phone call with President Xi Jingping, President Duterte said he hopes that our bilateral cooperation in areas such as agriculture will achieve more results,” Huang said.
“China and the Philippines are highly complementary in agriculture and have great potential for cooperation,” he said.
He expressed China’s willingness to work with the Philippines to explore the future potential in the agriculture sector.
Source: Phil Star