Agri chief urges AmCham to explore agribusiness opportunities amid “new normal”

Author: DA Communications Group | 22 February 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar asked members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) to explore agribusiness opportunities under the “new normal” to attain efficient management and delivery of agriculture and fishery products that are critical to the country’s food security requirements.

“With the big potential and opportunity for agribusiness investments, we call on the AmCham members to invest in agriculture, especially in the provision of production, processing, cold chain, marketing, logistics and modern technologies, and agripreneurship,” said Secretary Dar, during a virtual meeting with AmCham officers and members on February 18, 2021.

“Among major investments in the agriculture sector, we urgently need cold chain facilities, including attendant logistics, to enable food producers to efficiently manage supply and deliver farm and fishery products to the market at regular basis,” he added.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is currently defining the world as we know it, showing us that it is more than just a health crisis, but also a major concern with socio-economic dimension to it. But this won’t dampen our spirit. We will aggressively continue to empower our food security frontliners – the farmers and the fishers,” he said.

The United States (US) remains as the leading trading partner of the Philippines in agri-fisheries and food, and the second-largest export destination of Philippine agri-fisheries and food products.

“The US remains to be the top source of our food and agricultural product imports amounting to $2.8 billion in 2019, about 2.6 times the value of Philippine food and agricultural exports to that country,” the DA chief added.

“The Philippine agriculture sector is about a P1.8-trillion industry. Despite a flat growth in 2020, we are confident that the sector will continue as a major contributor to the country’s economic resurgence,” he added.

“In particular, we encourage AmCham members and other private sector stakeholders to invest in warehouses and cold storage for agricultural and fishery commodities. We need these facilities particularly during the harvest season, when there are surpluses, and thus buy at lower cost and store them. This is a tolling business that the private sector can take part of. We need not depend on government alone. We need your involvement,” he said.

In the light of the ongoing concern on high pork prices, the agri chief presented to the business group the “whole-of-nation” measures that the DA is implementing to revive the hog industry, increase supply of hogs in Metro Manila by sourcing from surplus ASF-free provinces, and augmenting local supply from foreign sources.

“The Duterte administration, guided by this approach, has been resolute to stay open for business despite the pandemic. And we are happy with the fast action by the members of the IATF in opening up the special hog lanes that will ensure the availability of nutritious and affordable food for the Filipino people,” the DA chief said.

“We hope that the business community all over the country will continue to strengthen their ties and cooperation with each other and with the Duterte government so that together we can face current and future challenges not only with greater fortitude and resolve, but also with bolder innovations and greater creativity,” Secretary Dar concluded. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA-StratComms)

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