Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

Philippines, India forge stronger agri cooperation

Author: DA Communications Group | 22 April 2022

New Delhi, India – Philippine Agriculture Secretary William Dar and India Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar agreed to renew partnership towards stronger technical cooperation and market access to sustainably increase food production for both countries, provide Filipino and Indian farmers with higher income, and achieve a more balanced trade of goods.

Minister Tomar hosted a brief bilateral meeting with Secretary Dar and the members of the Philippine delegation at the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, in Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi, on April 21, 2022.

Secretary Dar said the Philippines will benefit greatly from India being the world’s third-ranking rice producer and exporter, and a leader in the development and commercialization of natural and biological farm inputs.

With skyrocketing prices of chemical fertilizers in the world market,  compounded by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Secretary Dar said the Philippines is compelled to use a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers.

He also told Minister Tomar that the Philippines would promote more quality export products to India to attain a more balanced trade. Last year alone, India exported US$ 450-million worth of products to the Philippines, while buying a measly US$50-million worth of Filipino goods.

Minister Tomar and Secretary Dar also agreed to renew agricultural cooperation with the creation of a joint technical working group, composed of experts from both countries, that will be tasked to scale up existing partnership and explore new areas of collaboration, particularly in aquaculture and marine, renewable energy, risk reduction management, and natural and biological farm inputs. The Philippines-India technical working group will be formed soonest and then schedule for a series of meetings in the next two months.

During the meeting, Minister Tomar pledged to support initiatives to level up Philippine agriculture through the installation of various science-backed projects including the satellite-based insurance system and soil and water management.

The Minister has instructed Indian Council for Agricultural Research Director General Trilochan Mohapatra to extend assistance and oversee that the collaborations will be carried out in partnership with DA’s key technical agencies including the following bureaus: Plant Industry, Animal Industry, Soil and Water Management, and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, among others.

Minister Tomar thanked Secretary Dar for visiting India once again, after spending 15 years in Hyderabad as the Director-General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), from 2000 to 2014.

Secretary Dar was in New Delhi for the BioAg Asia 2022, a two-day forum on bio-control and bio-stimulant strategies, as well as research and technology of various groups not only in Asia but the rest of the world, including the Philippines. He chaired two panel discussions on Policy and Business Environment in Major Asian Countries and Bio Agriculture – Global Perspectives and Asian Markets.

The first Filipino to head a global agriculture R&D facility, Sec. Dar successfully transformed ICRISAT into one of the best centers in the world in terms of innovative agricultural research for development programs, impact on smallholder farmers in India, Africa, and the rest of the world, and financial health and stability.

Joining the agri chief during the bilateral meeting were Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing, Jr., Acting Deputy Chief of Mission John Boitte Santos, Vice Consul Mark Anthony Dizon, DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, DA’s Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Deputy Director Myer Mula, Head Executive Assistant Alexander Arizabal, and Planters Products Inc. President Mat Maderazo. ### (Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID)

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