Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

PH, EU conducts bilateral meeting on agriculture to strengthen cooperation

Author: DA-AFID | 25 October 2023

The Philippines and the European Union (EU) continues to strengthen its partnership as it gears towards prioritizing food security, bolstering agri-food trade, and opening new areas for agricultural collaboration, as both held the 4th Philippines-European Union Joint Meeting on Agriculture on Friday, 28 July 2023 at the headquarters of the EU in Makati City.

The Philippine delegation was headed by Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Regulations Paz J. Benavidez II. She was joined by Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Paul C. Limson, concerned offices from the DA, and Agriculture Attache Kristine Jeanne Yap virtually. The Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Trade and Industry also participated virtually.

The EU delegation was headed by Minister Counsellor for the Economic and Trade Section Mr. Philipp Dupuis. He was joined by First Counsellor (Agri, SPS, Environment) to Thailand Mr. Laurent Lourdais and representatives from 12 EU Member States (MS).

In her opening remarks, Assistant Secretary Benavidez shared that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., concurrent Agri chief, emphasized the need to make every effort to ensure food security in the Philippines, importance of unimpeded movement of food and agricultural inputs, and strengthen international cooperation to empower farmers, fisherfolk, and food producers. She also noted that the Philippines has been a steady partner of the EU with agri exports amounting to 1.5 billion USD for 2022 with tuna, pineapple, carrageenan, and coconut products being the top commodities. Exports to EU27 increased by 26% in 2022 with the same agri-export commodities as champions.

During the meeting, the Philippines expressed appreciation to the EU for the regained access of pili nuts to the EU market, reassumption of calamansi trade, and shared its interest in the proposed extension of the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+). The Philippines also pushed for existing market access requests and shared updates on fishery market access matters.

To open new areas of agricultural collaboration, the Philippines proposed knowledge sharing and benchmarking of activities on animal disease prevention and control as well as pest surveillance and monitoring. The Philippines also expressed its interest to participate in EU trade and promotional events as well as Business-to-Business meetings to link local farmers and agri-entrepreneurs to foreign investors and buyers as a measure to help them integrate into the global market. Both sides are also keen to jumpstart cooperation in sustainable agriculture with emphasis on organic agriculture.

The EU shared its current initiatives in the Philippines related to agriculture such as the ARISE Plus project,  Bangsamoro Agri-Enterprise Programme (BAEP), and the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

In her closing remarks, Assistant Secretary Benavidez shared that she is confident that the Philippines and the EU will continue to work together on the betterment of the agriculture sector of both sides and on promoting sustainable and inclusive agricultural development. She also noted that the EU along with its 27 MS have been reliable and valuable allies of the Philippines for many years based on shared values and interests. In 2024, the 60th anniversary of the Philippines-EU diplomatic relations will be celebrated which is a testament to the strength of our relationship and our shared commitment to working together to promote peace, prosperity, and development in the region and around the world. ###

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